For our first feature discussion, I will introduce you to Project “12” Cube Building Services that represent a part of our offerings for Enterprise Project Management Reporting. It also happens to be the feature I own, so I am very excited to share with you the work we have done.
Project Server 2003 ships a foundation to enterprise reporting and data analysis with the Portfolio Analyzer cube. In Project Server “12” we have expanded the idea to offer a rich set of data ready to consume, out of the box. The Cube Building Services offers an environment to truly provide business intelligence and insight to businesses using Project.
We have increased the number of cubes offered to 11 cubes and 3 virtual cubes. The cubes are built using the Project Server “12” Reporting infrastructure. This infrastructure includes a dedicated Reporting SQL database that contains all Project Server “12” data that has been published. This data is incrementally update at real time as data gets published, tremendously improving the performance for the cubes as well.
The list of cubes offered are the following (this may be subject to change):
1. Project Non Timephased
2. Task Non Timephased
3. Assignment Non Timephased
4. Assignment Timephased
5. Resource Non Timephased
6. Resource Timephased
7. EPM Timesheet
The virtual cubes offered are the following (also subject to change):
1. Portfolio Analyzer – backwards compatible with Project Server 2003
2. Project Timesheet
3. Project WSS
During the Project Conference, one of the top questions I was asked regarding the cube schema was whether the Time dimension has a Week level and the answer is YES! In addition to the Time dimension, we’ll also offer a Fiscal Time dimension that will map to fiscal periods defined in the Project Server though it will not follow the traditional Time dimension hierarchy (Year > Quarter > Month…).
The Cube Building Services in the Project Web Access interface provides a very centralized set of cube administrator pages.
Similarly to Project Server 2003, this page helps administrator setup the cube builds and define the cube settings:
· Analysis Services server name
· Data range to be included on the cubes
· Frequency to which the cubes should be updated
The Cube Building Services in Project Server “12” has an easy to use interface to allow customization of the cubes by using Enterprise Custom Fields. For example, you can add Location custom field to your Assignment Timephased cube as a dimension. That would allow you to analyze Actual Cost sliced on Location over a period of time. This is very simple example, but you can get the idea of the powerful analysis you will be able to do with this.
We also offer an interface to add calculated members without having to write any custom code just the appropriate MDX formula. For example, for Profit, the formula would be something like [Revenue] – [Cost]
Once the customizations are save, they will be added to the cubes the next time the cube is built.
This page has been added to help administrators verify the status of the building process and troubleshoot if there are any errors, such as the Analysis Services server name is invalid.
Note: Project Server “12” also has an amazing Queue feature that allows great job management on the server side but I’ll save the details for a future post.
The Cube Building Services has been built primarily in Analysis Services 2000 though it successfully builds in Analysis Services 2005 as well. For those of you who did have a chance to use these cubes in the Beta 1 release, this was not working at that point but it has been fixed. We will also support mixed configurations, the final support configuration document has not yet been finalized but our test team has been making good progress validating many of the scenarios we want to support.
I would really like to hear how in depth you would like the topics to go into. I can really drill down on a few of them if there is interest. I will start new feature discussions with an overview post like this one to give you a background on the work done for the feature in P12.