Definition of compound metrics - Microstrategy

A compound metric is made by combining one or more other metrics using one or more mathematical operators. The other metrics may be simple, nested, or other compound metrics.

As noted in Distinguishing between simple and compound metrics, the most important distinction between simple and compound metrics is that compound metrics cannot have a level placed on the entire metric, although the level can be set separately on each of the expressions.

A compound metric does not have to perform an additional aggregation as a simple metric does. The two metrics can be calculated individually, instead. The results are used to compute the final result, as shown in the following figure.

Definition of compound metrics

For example, to calculate a profit margin, you can divide a profit metric by a revenue metric, as shown below:

([Profit Metric]/[Revenue Metric])

Note that this compound metric does not contain any levels; all of the level information is included in the separate metrics.

Smart metrics

The smart metric property of a compound metric allows you to change the default evaluation order of the metric. For example, the following report contains information about sales. If you display totals without allowing smart metrics, the totals are incorrect.

Smart metrics

The Ratio column is summed to achieve the total shown. To calculate the correct answer, the total should be based on the totals in the other Total Sales and Discount Sales columns instead. Once smart metrics are allowed, the report looks like the following:

Smart metrics

In short, smart metrics allow you to change the default evaluation order of a compound metric. Smart metrics calculate subtotals on the individual elements of the compound metric. For example, a smart metric uses the formula Sum(Metric1)/Sum(Metric2) rather than Sum(Metric1/Metric2).

To toggle smart metrics on and off, use the check box at the bottom of the Subtotals/Aggregation tab in the Metric Editor.

In the past, contribution metrics could not be smart metrics or totals would not work. For example, in the following MicroStrategy 7.1 report, the total for Contribution to Quarter would be as 25% if smart totals were turned on. This number would be calculated as the sum of all the quarterly contributions (100) divided by the sum of all the monthly contributions (400). If smart totals were turned off, the total would be correct at 100%.

Smart metrics

MicroStrategy now offers dimensionally-aware subtotals, so the right answer is provided regardless of the smart metric setting. The only limitation for dimensional smart metrics is that subtotal values cannot be aggregated to a level higher than the metric itself, as illustrated below. The Items Sold and Contribution metrics cannot be rolled up to the year level. Turn off smart metrics in this case to achieve these results.

Smart metrics

Evaluation order

The order in which data is calculated has a bearing on the results to be displayed. By using evaluation order settings, you can control the order in which consolidations, smart metrics, report limits, and subtotals are calculated and resolved for a given report. It is important to think about evaluation order when creating compound metrics.


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