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Oracle® Fusion Middleware User's Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition
11g Release 1 (11.1.1)

Part Number E10544-06
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11 Using KPIs and KPI Watchlists

This chapter explains how to use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and KPI watchlists in Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition. It also explains KPI evaluation, dimensions and pinned dimension values, and target settings.

This chapter includes the following sections:

What Are KPIs?

KPIs are measurements that define and track specific business goals and objectives that often roll up into larger organizational strategies that require monitoring, improvement, and evaluation. KPIs have measurable values that usually vary with time, have targets to determine a score and performance status, include dimensions to allow for more specific analysis, and can be compared over time for trending purposes and to identify performance patterns.

See the following list of specific uses for KPIs in Oracle BI EE:

How Are KPIs Evaluated?

A KPI's status and score are determined by comparing its actual value against the thresholds that you define. The performance status of a KPI is represented by the status icon that you assign to each range.

For example, for a product sales KPI in which high values are desirable, you can define the ranges that are described in Table 11-1. Thresholds are the numeric values that separate the ranges.

Table 11-1 Sample Evaluation

Evaluation Range Rule Threshold Name Status Icon

Values exceeding 125 (125 < x) indicate ideal performance

126 and above

Ideal

Blue square

Values between 100 and 125 (100 < x <= 125) indicate good performance

125

Good

Green square

Values between 80 and 100 (80 < x <= 100) indicate acceptable performance

100

Acceptable

Yellow square

Values between 50 and 80 (50 < x < = 80) indicate a warning of poor performance

80

Warning

Light red square

Values less than 50 (x <= 50) indicate critical performance

50 and below

Critical

Dark red square


How Can I Use KPIs?

KPIs are created with the KPI Editor, which can be accessed as a standalone editor or within the "Scorecard editor." After you create and save KPIs, you can use them in the following ways:

What Are Dimensions and Pinned Dimension Values?

Note:

Multi-value dimension pinning applies to Oracle BI EE 11.1.1.7.10 and later versions, and might not be available in earlier versions. For more information about Oracle BI EE 11.1.1.7.10, see "New Features for 11.1.1.7.10."

Dimensions are categorizations of data, and the categorizations reflect how a business analyst wants to analyze data. When analysts say they want to see numbers "by" something or "over" something, they are identifying the dimensions of the data. Common dimensions are geography, product, customer, and time.

For KPIs, you can select any attribute column from the subject area as a dimension. When you design the KPI, you can either pin one or multiple data values to one or more dimensions (for example, Region = Central), or you can specify that you want all or some dimension values pinned when the KPI is added to a watchlist or scorecard and when a watchlist or scorecard is added to a dashboard. After a value is pinned by the designer, the user cannot change the value.

When adding a KPI without a pre-pinned value to a watchlist, the designer can pin one or more values, or specify a session, repository, or global variable to set the dimension's value. If the designer does not pin a value or variable to a dimension, then the KPI user can select one or more values at runtime from the point of view area in either the KPI watchlist, from the scorecard that contains the KPI, from the variable prompt on a dashboard, or from the column prompt on the dashboard.

Note:

If a KPI watchlist or scorecard object containing a KPI is added to a dashboard with prompts, and the KPI is not dimensioned by a specific prompt's dimension in the KPI definition, that prompt is ignored. Additionally, if the KPI is pinned to a specific dimension value in its definition, a prompt on that dimension is ignored. Refer to "Adding a Dashboard Prompt to a Dashboard or Dashboard Page" and to the "Dashboard Properties dialog" when adding a KPI watchlist or scorecard object containing KPIs to a dashboard that contains prompts.

If a KPI with dimensions is output to an analysis, then the dimensions are displayed as columns and drills. If the dimension values are pinned, then the analysis is limited to the data that is determined by the pinned values. If the dimension is pinned with multiple values, a row is displayed for each pinned value.

Best Practice:

Define several dimensions for a KPI, but do not pin the dimensions within the KPI definition itself. This allows the user to reuse the KPI and pin it within a scorecard strategy tree, watchlist, or dashboard prompt. For example, if you create an overly specific KPI that pins a dimension, such as region to North America, the use for the KPI might be limited. If you leave the dimension unpinned, then the user makes the decision what region to pin. The usage for this KPI becomes more flexible and reusable, and prevents you from having to create and manage overly-specific KPIs.

About KPI Privileges and Permissions

The ability to perform certain tasks when building KPIs and KPI watchlists is controlled by privileges. See "About Scorecard Privileges and Permissions" for additional information about Presentation Services privileges.

How Do I Create a KPI?

There are five pages that the content designer can use to build a KPI. These pages are represented in Figure 11-1 and subsequently described in "Creating KPIs."

Figure 11-1 General Process Flow for Creating a KPI

This image is described in surrounding text.

You must complete the "KPI editor: General Properties page" and the "KPI editor: Dimensionality page."

To navigate between pages, you select the Next and Back buttons, or you click the page name along the navigation train. The navigation train is represented in Figure 11-2.

Figure 11-2 Navigation Train

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Creating KPIs

Use the following procedure to create a KPI. You can create a KPI from the global header, the Home page, or from a scorecard. See "Editing KPIs" for additional information about opening a KPI for editing.

To create a KPI:

  1. To create a KPI, do one of the following:

    • In the global header, click New then select KPI. From the Select Subject Area dialog, select a subject area for the KPI. The "KPI editor" is displayed.

    • From a scorecard, go to the Scorecard Documents pane and click the Create Object toolbar button. Or in the Catalog pane, click the New Object toolbar button. Select KPI, and from the Select Subject Area dialog, select a subject area for the KPI. The "KPI editor" is displayed.

  2. On the "KPI editor: General Properties page," specify the business owner, actual value and target value, and whether to make the values writeable, define the data format, and indicate whether to enable trending to determine performance patterns. Oracle recommends that you enable trending because trending enables Scorecard to automatically display historical trend charts. Figure 11-3 shows an example of the "KPI editor: General Properties page" for a revenue KPI.

    Figure 11-3 KPI Editor - General Properties Page

    This image is described in surrounding text.

    Note:

    If you are going to enable trending, you must also include a Time dimension on the "KPI editor: Dimensionality page." If a Time dimension is selected from the Compare to Prior option, the same Time dimension must be added to the "KPI editor: Dimensionality page." If a Time hierarchy level is selected from the Compare to Prior option, the hierarchy to which that hierarchy level belongs, must be added to the "KPI editor: Dimensionality page."

    If you are planning to use a KPI in a scorecard, you should assign a business owner. You cannot override a KPI status without having a business owner assigned. See "Working with Status Overrides" for additional information.

  3. On the "KPI editor: Dimensionality page," select the dimensions (for example, Sales by Region and by Financial Quarter) that you want to use to aggregate the KPI's actual and target values and determine if the dimensions should be pinned. Note that you should include a time dimension for most KPIs. Exceptions include constants or metrics that are defined as current snapshots, such as "Inventory on Hand" or "Current Phone Support Wait Time." Figure 11-4 shows an example of the "KPI editor: Dimensionality page." In this example, the "Cust Regions"."C50 Region" dimension is pinned to AMERICAS.

    Figure 11-4 KPI Editor - Dimensionality Page

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  4. On the "KPI editor: States page," indicate the desired goal based on KPI values (for example, "High Values are Desirable"), define the ranges that evaluate KPI values to determine performance status and score, associate performance levels with actions, identify what to do if no data is returned for the KPI, and associate thresholds as a percent of target value. Figure 11-5 shows an example of the "KPI editor: States page."

    Figure 11-5 KPI Editor - States Page

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  5. On the "KPI editor: Related Documents page," add any external links or business intelligence objects to the KPI. Figure 11-6 shows an example of the "KPI editor: Related Documents page."

    Figure 11-6 KPI Editor - Related Documents Page

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  6. On the "KPI editor: Custom Attributes page," include as many as five custom columns. Each custom column must evaluate to a numeric value. Custom columns are helpful when you have an associated calculation that you want to show, which isn't the same as the actual, target, variance, and change formulae. For example, you might add a custom column for Year Ago Revenue that displays next to the Revenue KPI for a matching time period. Figure 11-7 shows an example of the "KPI editor: Custom Attributes page."

    Figure 11-7 KPI Editor - Custom Attributes Page

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  7. Save the KPI.

    Note the following items:

    • If you are creating a standalone KPI, then click Finish to save the KPI.

    • If you are creating a new KPI, then the "Save As dialog" is displayed where you specify the KPI's name and where you want to save the KPI. If you want the KPI to display within a scorecard's "Scorecard Documents pane," then save the KPI to the scorecard object's folder within the catalog.

    • If you are creating a KPI from a scorecard, then click Save from the "Scorecard editor."

Editing KPIs

Use the following procedures to open and edit a saved KPI. KPIs are stored in the catalog, but can be added to KPI watchlists, scorecards, and dashboards. When you edit and save a KPI, the changes propagate to wherever the KPI is displayed.

Editing KPIs from the Catalog

Use the following procedure to edit a KPI from the catalog.

To edit a KPI from the catalog:

  1. In the global header, click Catalog. The "Catalog page" is displayed.

  2. Navigate to the KPI to edit and click the Edit link for the object. The "KPI editor" is displayed.

  3. Make the desired changes.

  4. Save the KPI.

Editing KPIs from a KPI Watchlist

Use the following procedure to edit a KPI from a KPI watchlist.

To edit a KPI from a KPI watchlist:

  1. In a KPI watchlist, right-click the KPI that you want to open.

  2. Select Open KPI Definition. The "KPI editor" is displayed.

  3. Make the desired changes.

  4. Save the KPI.

What Are Target Settings?

Target settings allow the user with the proper privileges and security settings to modify the KPI's actual and target values. Once modified, these values are submitted to and stored in the repository. Oracle BI EE then uses these modified values to recalculate aggregate values, refresh the cache, and refresh the KPI watchlists or scorecards to which the KPI was added. Currently target settings are available for Essbase data sources only. See "About Scorecard Privileges and Permissions" for additional information.

Prerequisites for Setting Up Target Settings in KPIs

The administrator must perform the following prerequisite tasks before the content designer can create a KPI with target settings:

  • Configure the repository for target settings — The Oracle BI EE repository administrator must enable the target setting features by mapping the Oracle Essbase data source to the Physical, Business Model and Mapping, and Presentation layers in the Oracle BI repository. The administrator must then enable write back for the columns in the repository on which target settings are enabled by selecting the Writeable option for the logical columns, followed by enabling the Read/Write permission for the corresponding presentation columns. See Oracle Fusion Middleware Metadata Repository Builder's Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition for additional information.

  • Create Calculation Scripts — The Oracle BI EE repository administrator uses Oracle Essbase to create calculation scripts for the data source. After the calculation scripts are created, they display in the Post-update Business Rule list located in the Oracle BI EE "KPI editor: General Properties page." At design time, the content designer chooses a calculation script. At runtime, Oracle BI EE uses the specified calculation script to recalculate the data after the user modifies and saves the KPI's actual and target values.

    See "Developing Calculation Scripts for Block Storage Databases" in Oracle Essbase Database Administrator's Guide for additional information.

  • Assign user privileges — To allow users to modify the actual and target values in a KPI the Oracle BI EE system administrator must assign the user specific privileges. See "About Scorecard Privileges and Permissions" for additional information about Presentation Services privileges.

Overview of Setting Up Target Settings in KPIs

There are several steps that the content designer must perform to create a KPI with actual and target values that a user can update at runtime. Figure 11-8 shows each required step in the process. See "Description of Target Setting Task Flow Steps" for additional information about each of these steps. See "Creating KPIs" for procedural information about using the "KPI editor" to create a KPI with target settings.

Figure 11-8 Target Setting Task Flow for Content Designers

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Description of Target Setting Task Flow Steps

The following list describes each step that you must perform to set up a KPI's target settings:

  • Add actual and target values to the KPI — In the "KPI editor: General Properties page," use the Actual Value and Target Values fields to specify the values to use to determine the KPI's status and score. Currently you can only create one KPI for each Essbase data source.

  • Mark measures as writeable to enable users to update actual and target values — In the "KPI editor: General Properties page," use the Writeable check box to specify which values you want the user to be able to modify. You can select one or both values as writeable.

  • Select the business rule — In the "KPI editor: General Properties page," use the Post-update Business Rule list to specify the calculation script. Oracle BI EE uses the calculation script to recalculate the data after the values are modified by the user. The repository administrator uses Oracle Essbase to create the data source and the calculation scripts that display at design time. See "Prerequisites for Setting Up Target Settings in KPIs" for additional information about calculation scripts.

User Interaction with Target Settings

The content designer can include KPIs with enabled target settings in watchlists, such as a KPI watchlist, objectives, and initiatives. See "Understanding Watchlists" for additional information.

At runtime, a user who has been granted the proper privileges can modify and save the actual and target values that are writeable. After the user enters and saves the values, Oracle BI EE submits the values to the repository, recalculates the aggregate values, and refreshes the watchlist. See "About Scorecard Privileges and Permissions" for additional information about Presentation Services privileges.

Figure 11-9 shows a scorecard objective that contains KPIs with target settings. Note that the actual and target settings fields are surrounded by boxes, which indicate that the user can modify them.

Figure 11-9 Example of a Scorecard Objective Containing KPIs With Target Settings

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Generating Analyses from KPIs

Use the following procedures to generate an analysis from a KPI. An analysis is a query against an organization's data that provides answers to business questions such as "What are my yearly regional sales of a specific beverage?" For additional information about analyses, see Chapter 2, "Creating Analyses."

You can generate an analysis from a KPI that is included in a KPI watchlist, scorecard, or scorecard diagram view on a dashboard. After you generate the analysis, it is stored in the catalog's Drills folder (/My Folders/Drills). Note that because the My Folders/Drills folder is used for temporary storage, the analysis might not persist after your session ends. To preserve the analysis, copy it to another directory. For example, to preserve an analysis that you plan to use in a shared dashboard, copy it to a folder in /Shared Folders.

After the analysis is generated, the analysis can then be placed onto a dashboard, opened from the catalog as an analysis, or attached as a related document in a scorecard, KPI watchlist, or KPI. Every time a user opens the analysis, its data is refreshed.

Note:

If the KPI dimension has a multi-value pinning, each value is displayed as a separate row in the analysis.

To generate an analysis from a KPI on a watchlist:

  1. Locate and open the KPI watchlist from the catalog, scorecard, or dashboard that contains the KPI watchlist.

  2. Go to the Performance tab and within the KPI Watchlist table, select the row that contains the KPI that you want to output to an analysis.

  3. Click Objects and then select Analyze. A new browser tab opens and displays the analysis, and Oracle BI EE saves the analysis to the catalog's Drills folder (/My Folders/Drills).

To output an analysis from a KPI on a scorecard:

  1. Expand the scorecard's strategy tree, initiative tree, Scorecard Documents pane, or Catalog pane and select a KPI.

  2. Right-click the KPI and select Analyze. A new browser tab opens and displays the analysis, and Oracle BI EE saves the analysis to the catalog.

Creating Agents from KPIs

Use the following procedure to create an agent from a KPI by using the Create Agent option. This option is available from the More list on the "Catalog page" and from the New Object list in the Scorecard Editor's "Catalog pane." When you create an agent using this method, Oracle BI EE does the following:

For additional information about agents, see Chapter 8, "Delivering Content."

To create an agent from a KPI:

  1. Locate the KPI from which you want to create an agent by using one of the following methods:

    Figure 11-10 The Create New Agent Dialog

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  2. In the Name field, enter a name for the agent.

    The "Agent editor" is displayed and the information that you specified in the Create New Agent dialog defaults into the "Agent editor: Condition tab" and the "Agent editor: Delivery Content tab."

  3. (optional) Specify a description in the Description field.

  4. Select the location in which to save the new agent.

  5. Select the status that initiates the agent to deliver its content and execute its actions from the Trigger Agent if KPI Status is list.

  6. (optional) Select a value for the dimensions. Note that agents cannot have KPI dimensions with multiple values.

  7. Click OK.

  8. Complete and save the agent. See "Creating Agents" for additional information.

Best Practice:

Use agents for KPIs and scorecards to monitor performance, continuous feedback, and real-time alerts.

Use actions to align day-to-day decisions with your corporate strategy and to trigger alerts for "out of the ordinary" results.

Contacting the Business Owner of KPIs

Use the following procedures to send a message to a KPI's business owner. The business owner is the person who is responsible for managing the KPI. Upon the creation or modification of the KPI, the content designer selects the business owner from the Oracle BI EE user list.

Oracle BI EE uses the delivery devices and profiles that the business owner has specified in the "My Account dialog: Delivery Options tab" to determine where to deliver the message (for example, email, phone, or pager).

To contact the KPI's business owner from a KPI watchlist:

  1. Locate and open the KPI watchlist from the catalog, open a dashboard that contains a KPI watchlist, or open the scorecard that contains the KPI watchlist.

  2. Go to the Performance tab and within the KPI Watchlist table, select the row that contains the KPI whose owner you want to contact.

  3. Click Objects and then select Contact Owner. The "Contact Owner dialog" is displayed.

  4. In the Subject field, enter a meaningful subject.

  5. Select a priority with which to send this message from the Priority list.

  6. In the Message field, enter a message to the KPI's owner.

  7. Click Send.

To contact the KPI's business owner from a scorecard:

  1. Expand the scorecard's strategy tree, initiative tree, or scorecard documents folder and select a KPI.

  2. Right-click the KPI and then select Contact Owner. The "Contact Owner dialog" is displayed.

  3. In the Subject field, enter a meaningful subject.

  4. Select a priority with which to send this message from the Priority list.

  5. In the Message field, enter a message to the KPI's owner.

  6. Click Send.

About Overriding Statuses of KPIs

A KPI's status can be overridden only by the business owner. The business owner is the person responsible for managing the KPI. Upon the creation or modification of the KPI, the content designer selects the business owner from the Oracle BI EE user list.

The business owner can override a status if the KPI's values are old, unavailable, or otherwise do not accurately reflect the true status of what the KPI is measuring. A KPI's status remains overridden until the business owner removes the override status. For example, if there is a scorecard that contains a KPI that measures a store's sales and a fire destroys the store, causing it to be non-operational, the business owner overrides the KPI's status so that the scorecard is not unbalanced. The business owner keeps this override in place until the store is again operational.

See "Working with Status Overrides" for detailed instructions about overriding a KPI's status.

About Adding Comments to KPIs

Any stakeholder of the KPI can add comments to a KPI's columns. Stakeholders can also review and respond to comments entered by other users. When you access a KPI's comments, a cumulative, chronological list of comments is displayed.

See "Working with Comments" for additional information on adding and reviewing comments.

What Are KPI Watchlists?

KPI watchlists are collections of KPIs that you build by adding the KPIs that are stored in the catalog. After you build and save a KPI watchlist, it is stored as a catalog object and can be added to dashboards and scorecards. Because KPIs cannot be viewed directly from the catalog by users, KPI watchlists are one of the ways, along with outputting a KPI to an analysis and including a KPI on a scorecard, that KPIs are distributed to users.

KPI watchlists provide the following KPI performance information:

KPI watchlists are useful because you can quickly build formal or informal lists for specific uses and for specific users, or, if users are given the proper privileges, they can build their own KPI watchlists that meet their specific information needs. For example, the KPI watchlist designer might create a KPI watchlist that contains KPIs that support a specific scorecard's strategy and initiatives. Or users might create KPI watchlists to monitor their individual objectives. For example, a sales person can create a KPI watchlist that contains KPIs that monitor quarterly sales totals within a specific region. See "About Scorecard Privileges and Permissions" for additional information about Presentation Services privileges.

The KPI watchlist designer can add one KPI several times to a KPI watchlist, and each time that the KPI is added, pin different dimensions to it so that the user can quickly see the whole picture rather than having to specify dimensions and reloading the KPI.

The KPI watchlist also provides the user with the ability to select a KPI from the watchlist and output it to an analysis, or to contact the KPI's business owner.

Figure 11-11 shows a KPI watchlist with current status, trend status, actual and target values, variance values and variance percentage values, and change values and change percentage values.

Figure 11-11 Example of a KPI Watchlist

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Creating KPI Watchlists

Use the following procedure to create a KPI watchlist. See "Editing KPI Watchlists" for additional information about opening KPI watchlists for editing.

To create a KPI watchlist:

  1. To create a KPI watchlist, do one of the following:

    • From the Home page, in the global header, click New and then select KPI Watchlist. The "KPI Watchlist editor" is displayed.

    • From a scorecard, go to the Scorecard Documents pane, click the Create Object toolbar button, and then select KPI Watchlist. The "KPI Watchlist editor," shown in Figure 11-12, is displayed.

    Figure 11-12 The KPI Watchlist Editor

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  2. If you are creating a KPI watchlist from the global header, then select any KPI from the catalog pane and drag it to the watchlist table.

    If you are creating a KPI watchlist within the Scorecard Editor, then select a KPI from any pane within the Scorecard Editor and drag it to the watchlist table. The "Add KPI dialog" is displayed.

  3. Enter a label for the KPI and if the KPI contains dimensions, then pin values to the dimensions as needed. Click OK. See "What Are Dimensions and Pinned Dimension Values?" for additional information about pinning.

  4. To edit the KPIs included on the watchlist, edit the KPI's watchlist entry, remove the KPI from the watchlist, analyze the KPI, open the KPI definition, or contact the owner of the KPI, select a KPI from the table, click Objects, and select an option. See "KPI Watchlist editor: Performance tab" for additional information.

  5. To add or remove columns from the watchlist table, click View and select Show More Columns.... The "Show More Columns dialog" is displayed.

  6. Click the KPI Watchlist Editor's Details tab to provide a description of the watchlist, identify a business owner, and add links to related business intelligence objects or external links. See "KPI Watchlist editor: Details tab" for additional information.

  7. Click Save.

    If you are creating a new KPI watchlist, then the "Save As dialog" is displayed where you specify the KPI watchlist's name and where you want to save the watchlist.

    If you want the watchlist to display within a scorecard's "Scorecard Documents pane," save the watchlist to the scorecard object's folder within the catalog.

Editing KPI Watchlists

Use the following procedure to edit a KPI watchlist.

To edit a KPI watchlist:

  1. In the global header, click Catalog. The "Catalog page" is displayed.

  2. Navigate to the KPI watchlist to edit and click the Edit link for the object. The "KPI Watchlist editor" is displayed.

  3. Make the desired changes.

  4. Save the KPI watchlist.