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How to create absolute and relative KPIs in SSAS Tabular
Part one of a three-part series of blogs

You can create key performance indicators (KPIs) within Analysis Services Tabular, but there a couple of foibles that you need to be aware of, as shown by this blog.

  1. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) (this blog)
  2. Creating relative KPIS in SSAS Tabular
  3. Absolute KPIs in SSAS Tabular

This blog is part of our online SSAS Tabular tutorial; we also offer lots of other Analysis Services training resources.

Posted by Andy Brown on 28 January 2016

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Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

KPIs are a good idea, with some serious implementation issues (at least in my experience).  Here's what they look like:

KPI example

Here our aim is that this period's sales should be at least as big as last year's.  The red circles show that we're failing completely in April, July and December, while the yellow ones shows that we're failing a bit in October and November.


The parts of a KPI

A KPI has 3 main components:

Component Notes
Value The thing we're measuring.
Goal What we would like it to equal.
Status How well we're doing against this target.

Note that Excel pivot tables imply that there is a fourth component called Trend, but you can't set this in SSAS Tabular.

The icon sets available - in theory

In theory you can choose from the following range of icons for your KPI display:

KPI icons

The palette of icons theoretically available.

In practice it seems that if you're using Excel 2013 at any rate, the only set you'll ever get is the one shown on the left.

Can this really be true?  I've found a couple of others sites reporting the same problem.  I've left a question on StackOverflow and no one has contradicted me.  It really does appear that this is a bug!

OK - now I've got my gripes about KPIs in SSAS Tabular out of the way, let's look at how they work!

  1. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) (this blog)
  2. Creating relative KPIS in SSAS Tabular
  3. Absolute KPIs in SSAS Tabular
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