How to use Nexel to update relationships

1. Abstract

Relationships are a fundamental component of all multidimensional data models in Board, allowing creators and users alike to easily aggregate and analyze data within an application. This ease of use on the front-end is highly dependent on the proper maintenance of hierarchies in the back-end.

2. Context

Customer-specific hierarchies are often maintained in systems outside of Board (ERPs, CRMs, etc) which are loaded into the Board data model via data readers and then reflected in an application.

However, there are also Board-specific hierarchies which need to be updated and maintained directly in Board. There are multiple ways to update a relationship, including:

  • Manually in the Data Model
  • Manually on an Administration Screen thorugh a dataview
  • Extract Layout and Data Reader steps in a procedure

and last but not the least:

  • Nexel

3. Content

In this article, we’ll discover the configuration and benefits of using Nexel to update child-parent relationships in a hierarchy.

Let’s explore an example where we have a Board-maintained hierarchy within an application that needs to be updated based on a certain condition.

A Project Lifecycle module within a CapEx application allows users to create, submit, and approve or reject capital expenditure projects within a 10-step workflow process. Depending on where the project is within the overall process flow, it will be assigned a specific status.

As seen in the hierarchy below, Project is the child entity which rolls up into Project Status as the parent entity.

Before proceeding to the next step of the workflow process, a user is required to run a procedure. This saves data entry, executes any necessary calculations, and then updates the status of the project accordingly.

The screenshot below demonstrates that we can accomplish the status update via a single Nexel step in the procedure. In this example, the project is moving to the Submitted for Accounting Policy Review status.

The Nexel configuration begins with a dataview layout.

The layout below has the following blocks:

a) Placeholder cube (since the first block in a layout needs to be a cube)

b) Code for the appropriate status member: 14 (Submitted for Accounting Policy Review)

c) Parent entity

With Project outlined by row and the Single Formula type enabled for Nexel, the Nexel formula is simple as the project status should equal block b.

Once the Nexel Writeback is executed in the procedure, the relationship is updated and the new Project Status is reflected.

Although this is not the case, bear in mind that normalization is always necessary to update a branch with several hierarchical levels, to create indirect relationships using direct relationships as a bridge.

4. Conclusion

The benefits of using Nexel to update child-parent relationships include:

  • Single procedure step
  • Minimizes potential concurrency issues with extract/reload
  • Reduces file storage in Azure

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