Comparing sales and budget, or costs and budget, is a very common operation. However, it is often the case that you have different granularities for different tables containing budget and the data to compare with. There are two ways to do that: you can limit the comparison to the granularity that is common to the two tables, or you can allocate the budget where it’s not defined.

For example, if you have a budget defined by quarter and category, you might want to allocate it by month and product. In this way, you will do the comparison as you had a more granular definition of the budget, without actually having to do the manual job of allocating data (usually in an Excel worksheet!).

If you want to do budget allocation in DAX, you can use the Budget Patterns we published on DAX Patterns. If you come from and MDX/OLAP background, at first you might find it hard to solve the problem of not having attribute hierarchies that helps you in propagating the budget values to lower hierarchical levels. However, I think that once you get used to DAX, you will find the behavior very predictable and easy to “debug” also for more complex allocation formula. You just have to be careful in writing the DAX formula, but probably the pattern we wrote should help you designing the right data model, without creating physical relationships to the budget table!

This pattern is also based on the Handling Different Granularities scenario I discussed a couple of weeks ago.