This month, there was a blog post by Kevin Donovan (Program Manger for PerformancePoint Services) describing new features coming in SP1 for PerformancePoint Services (PPS). PPS is part of SharePoint Server 2010. By far the most interesting of these features is “Cascading Filters” for PerformancePoint. You can read the full blog post at the Microsoft PerformancePoint Services blog – http://blogs.msdn.com/b/performancepoint/archive/2011/06/07/what-s-new-in-performancepoint-services-and-sp1.aspx
According to the post,
A lot of thought went into the design, making them quite robust and “feature-rich.”
There isn’t any other description of how they might be implemented nor is there information on their functionality. Cascading filters are the number one enhancement request that people ask me about for the Text Search Filter for PerformancePoint. With this in mind, I thought I would describe how people have asked me to make “Cascading Filters” work.
First, some filter basics. PerformancePoint filters can be associated with dashboard reports as shown below.
Cascading Filters is a concept that allows you to take the selection of the first filter and use it to limit the choices in the second filter. The second filter would only have items populated in it based on the selection of the first filter. The output of the second filter can then be linked to a report(s). See the diagram below.
An example of Cascading Filters would be a dashboard that contains two filters (a list of states and counties). The first filter would contain a list of all 50 states. The second filter would contain a list of only the counties from the state that was selected in the first filter. So if we selected “Minnesota” in this example, only the 87 counties for Minnesota would be in the second filter. Without cascading filters, the second filter would contain a list of all counties in all 50 states.
Multiple Cascading Filters
Taking this concept one step further, you should be able to have multiple cascading filters stringed together. In the example below, we see a series of cascading filters working together. Using our geographic example, you could have a State, County, and City example. In this example, you could select, “Minnesota”, “Otter Tail” county, and only the 22 cities in Otter Tail county would be in the final filter. The example below shows four filters just to continue this line of thinking.
Combination of Cascading Filters and Regular Filters
Cascading filters should not only be able to work with each other, but in combination with regular filters. In the case below, you can see both a cascading filter and a regular filter working together to filter a single report. To continue our geographic example, we could have a State, County cascading filter set working with a date range filter. So we could select “Minnesota”, “Otter Tail” county, and the “Last Quarter” for the date range.
While we need to wait another month for Microsoft to tell us more about this feature, I’m hoping that it can satisfy these types of requirements using multiple related data sources.