Adding additional context to your data through comparison can be termed as Variance Analysis. Variance enables you to track your success and investigate the cause of failures. You can create Variance and compare between different time periods, versions like forecast/budget or two different measures. In this blog, let us discuss different types of Variance Comparisons and about creating Variances for different chart types in SAP Analytics Cloud.
Three Types of Comparison
Variance can be added from the Quick menu of a chart widget or within the Builder panel. There are three main comparisons possible using Variance. Only the Bar/Column Chart support all three comparisons.
1. Measure Comparison
A simple comparison between two different measures or a comparison of multiple measures dynamically with a single measure is possible. Within Variance panel, there are options to invert colors, set no data as zero and scale with the base / main chart. You can show the difference as a numeric value or percentage and configure a number of decimals. Variance can be displayed as an additional Bar Chart, data label or an integrated Bar within the base chart.
When you have multiple measures and would like to see the Variance for all the measures, choose the option All Measures in Use (Dynamic) in either ‘Compare’ or ‘To’ dropdown. This will be very useful if you have a measure input control which enables the user to dynamically switch between different measures in a chart.
2. Time Comparison
To add a Time Comparison, select Add Version/Time option and choose the Time Dimension by which you are going to compare the measures. Once the Time dimension is selected, there are multiple options like Previous Period, Current period, Previous year / Quarter / Month. One example is if you choose the options to be Current period and Previous period, the Variance for the current quarter will be compared to the Previous Quarter and the Variance for the current year will be compared to the previous year.
Please note that to enable Time Comparison, you need to have Time Dimension in the chart or have a single value filter on the Time Dimension. For example, if you are showing Sales by Segment and would like to add a Variance comparing with the previous year, then you need to add a single value filter (Story Filter, Page Filter or Widget Filter) where the data is filtered to any particular year. If you need to compare it with the previous quarter, then the single value filter must be filtered to any particular quarter.
3. Version Comparison
Version comparison option is simple. Instead of choosing a Time Dimension, you need to choose the version dimension and select two different versions to be compared. Here in the snapshot below, the chart shows Variance compared between Actuals and Forecast.
Variance Option for Different Chart Types
Variance as Bar Chart is supported by Bar/Column, Waterfall and Line Charts. While Variance as Data Label is supported by most of the chart types, Variance as Integrated Bar is only supported by Bar/Column chart. Certain chart types do not support Variance at all. The table below shows the support matrix for a Variance by different chart types.
You can see the visuals of Variance options available for different chart types in the snapshot below.
If you are interested in learning more about SAP Analytics Cloud, check out our series of blogs here.