Customer Segmentation By Revenue Contribution

We recently had a customer asking us for some assistance with a business challenge.

He had been asked to provide a report analysing their customer base by % contribution to company revenue. But that wasn’t all! He also had to produce an additional report that tracked the customers ‘lost’ by the company Year on Year by looking at sales activity.

This approach is also often used when looking at profitability, and many businesses like to classify their customers in this way:

  • group ‘a’ of key customers make up 40% of our company revenue and group ‘b’ make up the next 30%
  • which customers have we ‘lost’ or have become inactive over a period

This is where XLCubed’s capability and flexibility comes into play – we have an advanced selection mode for handling exactly this type of scenario.

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Workbook format in XLCubed ribbon

Using Grid Styles in XLCubed

This week’s blog is a quick tip on Grid formatting options. Did you know that XLCubed comes with ten pre-formatted grid styles which you can easily switch between?

These are available from the Workbook Format button on the XLCubed ribbon (the option remains greyed out until an XLCubed grid is added).

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Monitoring Data Connected Comments In Excel Blog Header

Monitoring Data Comments

Many BI and reporting tools now allow users to collaborate directly with a report. This avoids the cumbersome backwards and forwards of email chains or the need to meet in person.

As useful as this is, some organisations have concerns about the ability to monitor comments made. We will discuss this aspect in more depth after a brief introduction to comments and collaboration.

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XLCubed showing an element we wish to remove an update the totals

Advanced Grid Reporting – MDX:

This weeks blog is for the more technically minded among our user base and our partner network – not for everyone, but highlights some potentially very powerful capabilities!

We will be looking at using MDX: and MDXSet: along with Query Generators to create sub-cubes, meaning we can develop advanced reports that would otherwise be difficult to achieve.

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Linking it all together

As we’ve seen in the past, XL3Link is a flexible formula that is really worth knowing about to help easily build interlinked reports. To some extent it’s like a Swiss army knife – multi-purpose!  From highlighting a series on a chart to hosting a tooltip,  XL3Link is a flexible formula that can help make your reporting more interactive at multiple levels.

In this post we’ll be discussing a few more novel ways to use XL3Link.

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Propagate across Sheets

Propagate across Sheets

Today’s blog will run through Propagate across Sheets – it’s an XLCubed feature that’s been around for some time but is definitely one of our hidden gems!

Propagate across Sheets is some great functionality that allows users to quickly replicate a report onto additional sheets within the same workbook or a new workbook.

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Data Mashups 101

In an ideal world for report designers, all the data required for a report is available in one data source, and the structure and hierarchies perfectly match the reporting needs. Sadly, the world isn’t always ideal (just ask Theresa May…).

We often see scenarios where users are reporting numerical data from Analysis Services but want to include descriptive or textual information held elsewhere. People have approached this in different ways, but XLCubed’s mashup capability can make it a much more streamlined and maintainable process.

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Custom drill paths for Analysis Services reporting

Any business report will answer a predefined set of questions, but it will often give rise to many additional queries and chains of thought as the user wants to explore any oddities or anomalies in more depth.

As a report designer you want to provide flexibility in your reports. You may want to create a customised drill down behaviour which you know is how the report users naturally think of the data. Similarly giving users the ability to ‘drill across’ into other hierarchies is a great way of providing chain of thought interactivity, but the sheer complexity and number of hierarchies in many corporate cubes these days means a vanilla ‘drill across’ may be problematic. In the hands of users relatively unfamiliar with the data model drill across can be a shortcut to a support ticket:

  • What is the difference between hierarchy ‘a’ & hierarchy ‘b’?
  • What is hierarchy ‘c’?
  • When I drill across into hierarchy ‘d’ it hangs?
    • that’ll be the 8 million skus in the attribute hierarchy you’ve picked…

We recently worked closely with a customer to implement a solution in XLCubed v7.6 for exactly these types of issue. Many thanks to Thomas Zeutschler at Henkel AG for the inspiration!

Flex Report extends a concept which Henkel had developed in-house to deliver report level flexibility of the drill path, while retaining control over what the user can do. Non-technical report developers can easily define the drilling behaviour for a report (for example from Country -> Promotion -> Product Category), and also to provide controlled ‘Drill Across’ options where the users have a choice of 5 or 6 meaningful levels to drill into, rather than the 200 which may exist in the cube. The difference in usability can be stark, as in the example below.

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The end result is report consumers with guided and controlled flexibility in data exploration. This type of reporting can be delivered from a potentially broad group of business users who have the flexibility to develop sophisticated reporting applications without the need to go back to IT each time they want to create a slightly modified drill path. We are finding that both the deliverable reports and the report development process itself resonates with many businesses. Take a look at this video for an introduction: Flex Reporting