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Dynamic Parameters for What if analysis

[Will Thompson] I've just merged a couple of very close scenarios, which all have similar great ideas! Something we're considering for the future, so I'm keen to hear your feedback on this. I like this core scenario of a numeric value that is bound to a slider control, and can then be used as part of some expression.

- In a sales report, I can adjust a '% increase' slider to see what impact a small change in revenue might have had on my sales.
- In a mortgage calculator, I can change the % rate, borrowed amount and term to see projected repayments
- In a quota report I might change a 'Opportunity confidence' control to see the likely bonus I could earn at the end of the year.

Please, keep voting and help us prioritize this!

Original suggestions follow:

So this scenario brings what-if-analysis to the visualization without changing the underlying data source. Let's say I have a table that has numeric values (integers, floating values, etc.). I created a chart (column, line, etc.) visual of that table data. Then instead of using SUM, AVG, COUNT, DISTINCT COUNT, I now can use a math expression applied to the numeric value (say I want to see what my chart looks like if I increase sales by 10%). Then I would see the new column in my table (calculated column with new values). I can now add that new column to the chart and graph that, labeling that as 'if sales increased by 10%' to show how that would compared to the actual numbers I see.

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    Rajnish SinhaRajnish Sinha shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    52 comments

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      • Duncan PrydeDuncan Pryde commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Just as an aside, I've been trying to use the numeric range slicer for exactly this purpose, but run into an issue as described here: https://ideas.powerbi.com/forums/265200-power-bi-ideas/suggestions/18810706-enable-discrete-values-in-numeric-slicer and in more detail here: http://community.powerbi.com/t5/Desktop/Numeric-Range-Slicer/m-p/151282

        I can get around it by removing the slider and keeping the entry boxes, which may work for may of the cases here.

        In my scenario, we wanted to create an upper and lower bound for what-if analysis, so the range slicer is perfect for that purpose, but being able to enter a single value would be very useful.

      • robrob commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        What if analysis would close the gap on Tableau and increase adoption

      • Tien Dung ThoiTien Dung Thoi commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I like the "% increase" slider idea, please do that.
        For many more "conservative" users, a "data entry" box where they can type in 1.123456% would be even better, but that will possibly require the notion of a global variable, a separate thread.

      • Mathias ThierbachMathias Thierbach commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        In tabular modelling it is a very common (and useful) patterns to define "Parameter Tables" (see the pattern described here: http://www.daxpatterns.com/parameter-table/). In a way, those "tables" are a neat work-around as they don't technically contain a dimension of the database, but instead are created primarily for the purpose of creating slicers for users to interactively change the behavior of certain measures.

        Both, Excel and Power BI, as clients of tabular models already distinguish between two "types" of tables when representing the schema to users, even though both use slightly different semantics.

        Excel groups all measures from a given table into a distinct node and keeps them separate from the table's columns. Power BI displays a "measure group" node only when the containing table has no visible columns, otherwise it merges all measures and columns together into the same table node (which makes for a very poor user experience).

        Despite the differences, though, both effectively have a notion of "measure (only)" tables vs "dimensional" tables in terms of how the model is displayed to users.

        I would like to propose a change where data modelers can mark any table as a parameter table, to be used by the Power BI UI so that it would use a third type of icon (something like a slicer?) to represent those tables and keep them separate from tables that represent a genuine dimension of the data model.

        Especially when dealing with more complex models, this would enhance usability enormously, at a very low cost. The use case I'm targeting here is where there is an organisational split between data modelers and analysts/report builders - which should be fairly common in enterprise environments. Where the semantics of available models need to be communicated to consumers.

      • JohnJohn commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Absolutely need this functionality in Power BI. Ability to do what-if analyses is crucial to making visualization operationally useful.

      • BarbarossaBarbarossa commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        hello,

        we would like to have this possibility. To change one or some parameters to look the impact of some changes.
        What will be my charge if some taxe goes for 1 to 1.2 ?

        Thank you to add this !

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This is a much needed feature for a true BI application. I view this feature similar to how you could have a linked table in a PowerPivot model, and each user with a copy of the model can have their own set of "what-if" values/parameters that affect the measure calcuations. This doesn't seem to be an option for SSAS Tabular, unless the model only has 1 user that determines the "ad-hoc" sources.

        Here's an article that describes this scenario in PowerPivot and what would be nice from a Power BI and SSAS Tabular perspective.

        https://javierguillen.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/what-if-analysis-at-the-right-level-of-granularity-in-powerpivot/

      • Rajnish SinhaRajnish Sinha commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Hi Charles,

        For the existing parameter feature, you have to set the parameter value before hand and it remains constant until you change and refresh your model again. The request here is to create dynamic parameters that you can adjust without the need to refresh the model. Also, the ability to use this parameter value in creating custom columns (calculations), or measures. And the ability to expose this parameter in form of a text box or a range slider so that you can use this on your report and make changes to the value affecting the calculated fields/measures. Please let me know if additional information is required.

      • Tarek ZeidTarek Zeid commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I believe it's time for interactive reports, to give the ability to build a GUI interface for what if scenarios based on end-user input and stored data, currently it can be done by applying some filters only, but it would be much more useful if you allowed end-user to write values and get results.

      • Mark WalterMark Walter commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I think this is already possible in a Dax measure that references a disconnected table that holds your parameters. Write your IF statement to look to the 'max' number option selected in your parameter table. If max=1, then ..., if max=2, then ... that way, when you slice to 1, you get a different variable calculated in your result. Choose 2 and your measure changes again.

      • Ivan TamburicIvan Tamburic commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        It would be also great if we had ability to bind user file (excel, txt, csv) to parameter, directly on reports.
        e.g.
        Filter report using file that contains customer IDs.

      • GrantGrant commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Sliders are standard & very useful on most other data visualization platforms!

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        We have the same need. We need a mechanism that avoids users going to the data model and tweaking parameter tables.

      • Tom CoxTom Cox commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This would be a very useful feature. Please add or publish roadmap for adding as soon as possible. Thank you

      • Rajnish SinhaRajnish Sinha commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Thanks Jan, but in this case you're pre-defining the value set, it would be great to have ability to either pre-define, or just specify a value on the fly in a text box in the report.

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