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Best practices for naming reports and elements in Magento BI

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Before you get started building in Magento BI, we want to share some of our secrets to success. Knowing how to create metrics, filters, and so on is important, but all that work will be for naught if you can’t find what you need or if there’s any ambiguity.

Why is nomenclature important?

The way you name your calculated columns, metrics, and reports dictates the ease in which different users can navigate through your Magento BI account. When naming these features, we like to keep in mind the three Cs:

  • CLARITY - So you can tell at a glance what a report is showing, what a metric does, and so on.
  • CONSISTENCY - So that you (and our support team!) can easily find and understand elements and reports in your account.
  • CREDIBILITY - In order to inspire and empower other data-driven Magento BI users, you need to instill confidence in how they understand and use the data!

Read on for our tried and true nomenclature tips!

General best practices

Be meaningful

Be specific whenever possible! For example, if it’s the country, do you know if it’s the shipping or the billing country? Is it the user’s city, or it is the deal’s city?

Bad example:
Revenue

This is vague and doesn't tell us much.

Good examples:
Revenue (base_grand_total + fee)
User’s shipping country

These examples are specific, which decreases the potential for confusion.

Be consistent with capitalization

We’re big fans of the ‘first letter uppercase, rest of the characters lowercase unless proper noun’ style of capitalization. For example: User's order number rather than User's Order Number.

This is really a matter of preference, but the thing to remember is to be consistent with whatever you choose.

Entity consistency

You likely already have a nomenclature in place at your company. Keep the metrics and dimensions you put in place consistent with what is used in other databases and tools. For example:

  • User vs. Customer vs. Member vs. Account
  • Company vs. Account vs. Organization
  • Registration vs. Creation

Spelling and grammar

Make sure to double check your spelling and don’t forget about those pesky possessives!

Charts

When naming charts, we find it most useful to follow this formula: (Data Perspective) + (Metric) + (Time Period) + (Time Interval)

Bad example:
Revenue

This tells us nothing about the report, which is bad.

Good example:
Cumulative revenue past 30 days by month

This tells us exactly what's in the report, which is fantastic.

Dashboards

Dashboards should be named in ways that thematically represent the reports contained within them. For example, if your dashboard contains only information related to revenue and orders, consider naming it something like [Store Name] - Revenue and orders.

Conversely, if your dashboard is a place where you are experimenting with different reports, consider naming it [Your Name’s] Sandbox so you know that the reports contained within are drafts.

Dimensions (Calculated columns)

When naming new dimensions, we find it most useful to follow this formula: (Entity) + (Nth) + (time frame) + (calculation) + (comments). For example:

User’s first 30 day revenue
User’s order number
User’s order number (awaiting audit)

Filter Sets

Filter sets are typically named in ways that explain the information they are including or excluding. For example, naming a filter set Order items we count will allow any user to go in, view the logic of the filter set, and understand what order information determines what is counted across the business. Remember that filter sets can be applied to both calculated columns and metrics, and should be easy to understand.

Metrics

Metrics are essentially questions that you want answers to regularly. What was the number of orders in the past month? What is the average lifetime value of our customers? It is generally best practice to name metrics to reflect the answer they are giving users. Additionally, if you have the same metric filtered for a specific store or department, they should be labelled as such. For example:

Average customer LTV (first 30 days)
[Store Name] - Revenue

Finally, the same metric can sometimes be organized by different timestamps, depending on how individual users calculate it. If this is the case, make sure to include the timestamp in the name:

Revenue (shipped_at)
Revenue (created_at)

Wrapping Up

Establishing style and naming conventions early on will help set you up for success in your Magento BI account. Remember the three Cs: clarity, consistency, and credibility!

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