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Using Virtual Version to Reduce Regular Maintenance for Version Comparison on Reports and Dashboards

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:

clipboard_eaadcaaf266fc3cbad3b73b6ca3245d79.png

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

Approved Budget

Targets – Board Approved

Current Forecast

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:

clipboard_edb89bb799f58f4e03fab93bfd4a5388f.png

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

  1. Login and navigate to Model Management and click on Versions
  2. Optional – create a version folder for your “Reporting Versions”
    1. To create a folder, select any budget version and click clipboard_ef99e060be842e078257ff20e2239a6e6.png  to add a folder, give it a Name and click Save
  3. Select the folder or any existing version and click the “Create new virtual version” icon clipboard_e17707f5a47cb70b4d1756a51c0aa045f.png
    1. Name = whatever you want to call the version
    2. Base version = select the version you want to point to
    3. Exchange Rates = select the same version as above
    4. Save

In the end, it should look something like this for our Current Forecast

clipboard_e754729bd7d22910d1d3ed7aa5212c836.png

To update the Virtual Version, simply edit the version and change the Base version and Exchange Rate version to match your new version.

 

 

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