Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Management Reporter- Using Dimension Sets for Report Design Efficiency

Every calendar year end, I feel like all I can come up with are payroll-related blog posts.  So, I am trying tonight to come up with something, anything other than payroll topics.  Thinking through the projects on my plate lately, Management Reporter is a common theme.   When working on large report projects in Management Reporter, I always try to find ways to make the report design (and therefore ongoing maintenance) more efficient.  One of the simplest way to do this is through the use of Dimension Sets.

Back in the FRx, these were called Account Sets and allowed you to group accounts for use on multiple reports.  And in Management Reporter, the functionality is similar.  You can create dimension sets to bundle groups of dimensions (any particular segment of your GL) in to named sets to be referenced in row, column, or tree definitions.

The benefits of using dimension sets include:
  • Reference the same dimension set on multiple row, column, and/or tree definitions
  • Have clients configure dimension sets in advance of report design, to simplify the report building process
  • Update a dimension set, and all reports that reference the set are automatically updated
  • Add, subtract, include ranges in a dimension et
  • Simplify the "look" of a row definition, in particular, to make it easier to spot what is included in a row
  • Centralize maintenance of key dimension sets referenced on several reports, like Net Sales or Administrative Expenses

Within a row, column, and/or tree definition you can reference:
  • Multiple dimension sets (for example, multiple Account dimension sets, or an Account dimension set and a Department dimension set)
  • Combinations of dimension sets and other dimensions (for example an Account dimension set plus a department segment)
Of course, dimension sets do require you to think through the design of a report before you begin actually creating it.  And it is even more beneficial if you analyze all reports to be created, to find the common groupings that can leverage dimension sets.

Once you have identified the dimension sets, it is very easy to create them in Management Reporter.  With any building block (row, column, or tree) open, simply go to Edit>>Manage Dimension Sets.

First, select the Dimension for the set using the drop-down list, you can select any segment of your chart of accounts (for example, main account or department or division).  Then you can either select an existing Dimension Set and click Modify or click New to begin a new one.  Note that you can also Delete and Save As for existing dimension sets.

After you click New, the New dimension set window appears and you can enter a Set Name and Set Description.  Then you can specify the segment values and ranges that should be included in the Dimension Set.  Use the + and - signs to add or subtract additional segment values and ranges within the set.  Click OK to save the dimension set.

To use a dimension set, you need to access the Dimensions window from either a tree, row, or column building block.  For example..
  • In a row definition, double-click in the Link to Financial Dimensions field
  • In a column definition, double-click in the Column Restriction field
  • In a tree definition, double-click in the Dimensions field

Once you are in the dimension window, double-click in the segment/dimension field you wish to populate and the corresponding segment/dimension window will open (in this case, MainAccount).  Now, you can select the Dimension Set radio button and use the ellipsis (three dots) button to select from a list of available Dimension Sets for the selected segment/dimension.  You can also use the Manage Dimension Sets button as a shortcut to edit and create new Dimension Sets. 

Click OK to save the entries you have made, and then you can repeat the process for additional dimensions in the same window, or move on to another row, column, or tree branch on your report.  Now, if you need to add an segment value to Net Sales or to the Domestic Divisions rollup, you can simply edit the Dimension Set and all reports that reference the Dimension Set will be updated!

Christina Phillips is a Microsoft Certified Trainer and Dynamics GP Certified Professional. She is a supervising consultant with BKD Technologies, providing training, support, and project management services to new and existing Microsoft Dynamics customers. This blog represents her views only, not those of her employer.

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