Thursday, 2 August 2012

Dimension Hierarchies in OBIEE:Level-Based Hierarchy and Parent-Child Hierarchy

A hierarchy is a cascaded series of many-to-one relationships and consists of different levels.
Example, a region hierarchy is defined with the levels Region, State, and City.
In the Business Model and Mapping layer, a dimension object represents a hierarchical organization of logical columns (attributes). One or more logical dimension tables can be associated with at most one dimension object. Common dimensions might be time periods, products, markets, customers, suppliers, promotion conditions, raw materials, manufacturing plants, transportation methods, media types, and time of day. Note that dimensions exist in the Business Model and Mapping (logical) layer and in the Presentation layer.
There are two types of logical dimensions:
1.       Dimensions with level-based hierarchies (structure hierarchies).
2.       Dimensions with parent-child hierarchies (value hierarchies).
Level-based hierarchies are those in which members are of several types, and members of the same type occur only at a single level.
In parent-child hierarchies, members all have the same type. Oracle Business Intelligence also supports a special type of level-based dimension, called a time dimension, that provides special functionality for modeling time series data.

Level-Based Hierarchies

A dimension contains two or more logical levels. For example, a Time hierarchy might have three levels for Year, Quarter, and Month. Level-based hierarchies can also contain parent-child relationships. The recommended sequence for creating logical levels is to create a Grand Total level and then create child levels, working down to the lowest level.
Level-based Dimension hierarchy levels allow:
  • to perform aggregate navigation,
  • to configure level-based measure calculations,
  • users from Dashboard and Answers to drill down from one parent to a child level.
The following are the parts of a dimension:
  • Grand Total level : A special level representing the grand total for a dimension. Each dimension can have just one Grand Total level. A Grand Total level does not contain dimensional attributes and does not have a level key. However, you can associate measures with a Grand Total level. The aggregation level for those measures will always be the grand total for the dimension.
  • Level : All levels, except the Grand Total level, need to have at least one column. However, it is not necessary to explicitly associate all of the columns from a table with logical levels. Any column that you do not associate with a logical level is automatically associated with the lowest level in the dimension that corresponds to that dimension table. All logical columns in the same dimension table have to be associated with the same dimension.
  • Hierarchy : Each dimension contains one or more hierarchies. All hierarchies must have a common leaf level and a common root (all) level.
  • Level keys : Each logical level (except the topmost level defined as a Grand Total level) must have one or more attributes that compose a level key. The level key defines the unique elements in each logical level. The dimension table logical key has to be associated with the lowest level of a dimension and has to be the level key for that level.
  • Time dimensions and chronological keys : You can identify a dimension as a time dimension. At least one level of a time dimension must have a chronological key.
The following is a list of some guidelines you should use when setting up and using time dimensions:
  • Unbalanced (or ragged) hierarchy : A hierarchy in which all the lowest-level members do not have the same depth For example, a site can choose to have data for the current month at the day level, previous months data at the month level, and the previous 5 years data at the quarter level.
  • For example, a Time hierarchy might have data for the current month at the day level, the previous month's data at the month level, and the previous 5 years' data at the quarter level. This type of hierarchy is also known as an unbalanced hierarchy.
Note that unbalanced hierarchies are not necessarily the same as parent-child hierarchies. Parent-child hierarchies are unbalanced by nature, but level-based hierarchies can be unbalanced also.
  • Skip-level hierarchy : A skip-level hierarchy is a hierarchy where there are members that do not have a value for certain higher levels. . For example, in the United States, the city of Washington in the District of Columbia does not belong to a state. The expectation is that users can still navigate from the country level (United States) to Washington and below without the need for a state.
Hierarchy with Unbalanced and Skip-Level Characteristics 
Parent-Child Hierarchies
A parent-child hierarchy is a hierarchy of members that all have the same type.It is a value-based hierarchy — Consists of values that define the hierarchy in a parent-child relationship and does not contain named levels. This contrasts with level-based hierarchies, where members of the same type occur only at a single level of the hierarchy.
For example, an Employee hierarchy might have no levels, but instead have names of employees who are managed by other employees. Employees can have titles, such as Vice President. Vice Presidents might report to other Vice Presidents and different Vice Presidents can be at different depths in the hierarchy.
The most common real-life occurrence of a parent-child hierarchy is an organizational reporting hierarchy chart, where the following all apply:
  • Each individual in the organization is an employee.
  • Each employee, apart from the top-level managers, reports to a single manager.
  • The reporting hierarchy has many levels.
These conditions illustrate the basic features that define a parent-child hierarchy, namely:
  • A parent-child hierarchy is based on a single logical table (for eg, the "Employees" table)
  • Each row in the table contains two identifying keys, one to identify the member itself, the other to identify the "parent" of the member (for example, Emp_ID and Mgr_ID)
Multi-Level Parent-Child Hierarchy
In level-based hierarchies, each level is named, and occupies a position in the hierarchy that corresponds to a real-word attribute or category that is deemed useful for analysis. Unlike level-based hierarchies, where the number of levels is fixed at design time, there is no limit to the depth of a parent-child hierarchy, and the depth can change at run time due to new data.


  1. Level-based hierarchies can also contain parent-child relationships.

    Can someone explain how to do this?
    Or at least, paste link where can read details how to do it?

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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