Data requirements

This topic covers the input data requirements for NLG Apps and Arria Answers. If you get unexpected results, please check that your data meets the requirements stated below.

The topic is organized as follows:

Note

The topic assumes the data is being uploaded in tabular form (either a CSV or XLSX file).

Measures

A measure is a numeric, quantitative field in your data. Measures in the sample dataset include Sales and Profit.

Note

The Arria visualization categorizes MicroStrategy metrics as measures.

The requirements for measures are:

  • Decimal numbers must use a period for the decimal separator.

  • If using thousand grouping separators, they must be commas.

  • Aggregation type must be one of the following: Sum, Average, Minimum, Maximum, or Count*.

Tip

*Arria Answers currently supports only the Sum, Average, Minimum, and Maximum aggregation types.

See Query types for guidance on which aggregation types are required by each type of query.

Tip

Not all aggregation and entity type combinations are supported by every NLG app. See the NLG Apps Directory for app-specific guidance.

 

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Dimensions

A dimension is a categorical, qualitative field in your data. Dimensions in the sample dataset include Country and Product.

Note

The Arria visualization categorizes MicroStrategy attributes as dimensions.

The values in a dimension field are known as dimension instances. For example, Canada and Germany may be instances of the Country dimension.

There are no formal restrictions for categorical dimensions. The values are typically textual or alphanumeric rather than purely numeric; however, purely numeric outputs are allowed.

In Arria for MicroStrategy, the term time dimension refers to a special type of dimension that contains date values. Time dimensions are used to analyze your data by day, month, quarter, or year. The data requirements for time dimensions are described below.

 

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Time dimensions

A time dimension is a special type of dimension that contains date values. You can use time dimensions to analyze your data by year, quarter, month, or day.

This section provides guidance on valid field names and data values when using time dimensions with NLG Apps and Arria Answers.

Note

The Arria visualization categorizes MicroStrategy date and time attributes as time dimensions.

Tip

When Arria for MicroStrategy identifies an attribute as a time dimension, the Entity Type field is automatically set to DateTime. If necessary, you can set the entity type in the NLG Apps wizard or the Arria Answers wizard.

 

There are two ways to store dates in your raw data:

Date columns

Date columns in your raw data can be used in two ways: as a single date field, or as a MicroStrategy time hierarchy.

Single date field

MicroStrategy creates date attributes from the date columns in your raw data — for example, see the Date attribute outlined in blue, below.

arria-date-columns.png
microstrategy-arria-date-attribute.png

 

Supported column/attribute names

A single column/attribute containing date values must be named as follows:

Naming Rule

Example Column/Attribute names

*date*

date, Date, DATE, Sales_Date, SALE DateTime

The asterisks (*) are wildcards that represent one or more spaces, hyphens, or underscores. These rules are case-insensitive.

Tip

You can use the Alias field in the NLG Apps wizard and the Arria Answers wizard to override date column/attribute names and comply with the naming rules.

 

Supported date formats

The following date formats are supported:

Pattern

Example Value

yyyy-MM-dd

2021-07-31

yyyy/MM/dd

2021/07/31

dd-MM-yyyy

31-07-2021

dd/MM/yyyy

31/07/2021

If your Date field is not in a supported format, do the following:

  1. In MicroStrategy, go to the Datasets panel.

  2. Right-click your Date attribute, go to Data Type, and select the Date option from the dropdown field.

    microstrategy-arria-data-type-date.png
  3. Click OK. A new date attribute is created (Date 1).

    microstrategy-arria-new-date-attribute.png
  4. Right-click the new date attribute, go to Number Format, select Custom from the dropdown field, and enter dd/mm/yyyy (or another supported format) in the last, blank field.

    microstrategy-arria-custom-date-format.png
  5. Click OK. Now use the new date attribute with the Arria for MicroStrategy visualization.

MicroStrategy time hierarchy

You can create separate time attributes (outlined in red, below) from a date attribute.

arria-date-columns.png
microstrategy-arria-time-attributes.png

To create time attributes, right-click the date attribute, click Create Time Attributes, and select the attributes you want from the list.

microstrategy-arria-date-attributes.png

Important

Only the Date (Month), Date (Quarter), and Date (Year) time attributes are supported as time dimensions in NLG Apps and Arria Answers. Using any other MicroStrategy time attributes may result in inaccurate narratives or error messages.

To query your data for a specific day in Arria Answers — e.g. What were my Sales on 5th August? — you must use a single date field or upload a dataset that separates date components into multiple columns.

 

Supported column/attribute names

The standard MicroStrategy names for time attributes are supported: Date (Month), Date (Quarter) and Date (Year).

Date components across multiple columns

An alternative to a single date column is to spread your date components (year, quarter, month, day) across multiple columns in your raw data.

MicroStrategy creates a date attribute for each of these columns (outlined in blue, below).

qlik-arria-separate-date-columns.png
microstrategy-arria-date-columns.png

NLG Apps and Arria Answers use the following date components:

Years

Supported column/attribute names

A single column/attribute containing year values must be named as follows:

Naming Rule

Example Column/Attribute Names

y

y, Y

*yr*

yr, YR, Yr_Name, YR of Sales

*year*

year, YEAR, Year_Name, Year of Sales

The asterisks (*) are wildcards that represent one or more spaces, hyphens, or underscores. These rules are case-insensitive.

Tip

You can use the Alias field in the NLG Apps wizard and the Arria Answers wizard to override date column/attribute names and comply with the naming rules.

 

Supported values

A year value must be a two-digit or four-digit number (for example, "22" or "2022").

 

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Quarters

Supported column/attribute names

A single column/attribute containing quarter values must be named as follows:

Naming Rule

Example Column/Attribute Names

q

q, Q

*qt*

qt, QT, Qt_Name, target qt

*qtr*

qtr, QTR, Qtr_Name, target qtr

*quarter*

quarter, QUARTER, Quarter_Name, target quarter

The asterisks (*) are wildcards that represent one or more spaces, hyphens, or underscores. These rules are case-insensitive.

Tip

You can use the Alias field in the NLG Apps wizard and the Arria Answers wizard to override date column/attribute names and comply with the naming rules.

 

Supported values

A quarter value can be given in alphanumeric or numeric form:

Quarter

Example Alphanumeric Values

Example Numeric Values

Quarter 1

Q1, Qt1, Qtr 1, Quarter 1

1

Quarter 2

Q2, Qt2, Qtr 2, Quarter 2

2

Quarter 3

Q3, Qt3, Qtr 3, Quarter 3

3

Quarter 4

Q4, Qt4, Qtr 4, Quarter 4

4

Any combination of the strings "Q", "Qt", "Qtr", and "Quarter" plus a number, with or without spaces, is acceptable for alphanumeric values. Therefore, "Q4", "Q 4", and "4Q" are equally valid. Also, any mixture of cases is acceptable. Therefore, "QUARTER 1" and "qUARTER 1" (to give two alternatives) are valid alternatives to "Quarter 1".

 

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Months

Supported column/attribute names

A single column/attribute containing month values must be named as follows:

Naming Rule

Example Column/Attribute Names

m

m or M

*mon*

mon, MON, Mon_Name, payment mon

*mth*

mth, MTH, Mth_Name, payment mth

*month*

month, MONTH, Month_Name, payment month

The asterisks (*) are wildcards that represent one or more spaces, hyphens, or underscores. These rules are case-insensitive.

Tip

You can use the Alias field in the NLG Apps wizard and the Arria Answers wizard to override date column/attribute names and comply with the naming rules.

 

Supported values

A month value can be given in text or numeric form:

Month

Example Text Values

Example Numeric Values

January

January, Jan

01, 1

February

February, Feb

02, 2

March

March, Mar

03, 3

April

April, Apr

04, 4

May

May

05, 5

June

June, Jun

06, 6

July

July, Jul

07, 7

August

August, Aug

08, 8

September

September, Sep

09, 9

October

October, Oct

10

November

November, Nov

11

December

December, Dec

12

This requirement is case-insensitive, so "JAN", "JAn" and "jan" are valid alternatives to "Jan".

 

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Days

Supported column/attribute names

A single column/attribute containing day values must be named as follows:

Naming Rule

Example Column/Attribute Names

d

d and D

*day*

day, Day, DAY, day_NAME, Day Name

The asterisks (*) are wildcards that represent one or more spaces, hyphens, or underscores. These rules are case-insensitive.

Tip

You can use the Alias field in the NLG Apps wizard and the Arria Answers wizard to override date column/attribute names and comply with the naming rules.

 

Supported values

A day value must be a one-digit or two-digit number (e.g. 5 or 05). Ordinal numbers (e.g. 5th) are invalid.

 

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