Virtual Versions were released with 2017.3 to address a constant currency reporting need. There is another use case using these Virtual Versions to reduce the amount of maintenance required for reports and dashboards that compare an ever-changing list of versions. This article will cover using Virtual Versions to create pointers that can be used in several reports/dashboards, then when we update the Virtual Versions all reports/dashboards are up to date without any more work.
This article will use an example creating Virtual Versions that point to the current budget versions, reports would either be built or adjusted to use the Virtual Versions. Thus, when you need to update the reports, all you do is update which budget version the Virtual Version points to, and all your reports are up to date.
Applies to: Discovery, OfficeConnect, and HTML reports.
Note: Current version or default version can address some of the same things, but often you are left with updating versions as you change years.
Caution: Virtual Versions do not cache, so if you have a large model or one full of complex formulas, this solution may not perform as well as using Locked – Calculated versions so you will want to test this before broadly applying it.
Example: We have many reports/dashboards that compare two or more versions, and at some regular basis we need to update the versions in the reports/dashboards to reflect current versions. For this example, we will use Approved Budget 2018, Monthly Forecast 2018 (changes each month).
Screenshot of current report columns:
The general idea is that we create a Virtual Version for each budget version in your report (you can mix this method with current/default versions). Then build your reports/dashboards comparing the virtual version (or update your existing reports). For our example above, we would create the following Virtual Versions given that our current forecast is for April (steps for creating Virtual Versions follows):
Virtual Version Name
Budget Version Name
Targets – Board Approved
April Forecast 2018
Once the Virtual Versions are created we would create or modify reports to use them instead of directly referencing the budget versions.
Screenshot of the modified report columns:
NOTE: When modifying an existing report, remember to update any calculated columns like the Var column in our report
The benefit of this method is reduced maintenance required as you can update many reports at once by just updating the Virtual Versions. If we have 10 reports/dashboards comparing those 2 versions, normally each month we would be updating the Current Forecast and each year the Approved Budget in all the reports/dashboards. With Virtual Versions, once a month you just update which budget version the Virtual Version points at. For our example in June:
Current Forecast = May Forecast 2018
And once a year change the Approved Budget to point to the current year version. Dramatically reducing the regular maintenance required.
Steps for creating a Virtual Version
- Login and navigate to Model Management and click on Versions
- Optional – create a version folder for your “Reporting Versions”
- To create a folder, select any budget version and click to add a folder, give it a Name and click Save
- Select the folder or any existing version and click the “Create new virtual version” icon
- Name = whatever you want to call the version
- Base version = select the version you want to point to
- Exchange Rates = select the same version as above
In the end, it should look something like this for our Current Forecast
To update the Virtual Version, simply edit the version and change the Base version and Exchange Rate version to match your new version.