Hierarchies Explained

When browsing your tabular model, one very useful type of field you might encounter is a Hierarchy, which is a logical grouping of fields. The most universal example of a hierarchy is the date, which we tend to think of as a three-level hierarchy: day, month, and year. However, depending on how we need to report on our data, we can have date fields that get very granular in their hierarchies: second, minute, hour, day, week, month, quarter, and year.

The main benefit of date hierarchies is that they allow you to easily analyze data over discrete periods of time without having to write additional formulas to parse the data or do any groupings. Hierarchies give you these groupings automatically, so you can easily create a month-to-month comparison of certain Measures.

However, hierarchies aren't limited to dates. An example of a Hierarchy that is relevant to the Admission department at Davidson is the "Admission Cycle," which is where a given year like 2018 might be comprised of multiple admission rounds:

  • 2018
    • 2018 Early Decision I
    • 2018 Early Decision II
    • 2018 Regular Decision
    • 2018 Transfer
    • 2018 Special

Other hierarchy examples:

Business Services

  • Fund Group > Fund
  • Org Group > Org
  • Fiscal Year > Month > Day

Human Resources

  • Division > Department > Team

The screenshot below shows two examples of how Hierarchies are represented in the tabular model in Excel. The first hierarchy is "Admission Cycle," and the second one is "Application Completed Date," with a standard day-month-year hierarchy.

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