Time intelligence functions are incredible DAX (Data Analysis Expressions) within Power BI that support business analytics in the most efficient way. These DAX functions enable the manipulation of data using periods or time frames, such as days, months, quarters, and years. With time intelligence, you can create formulas and compare results or calculations over those time frames.
I’ve made several tutorials around unique time intelligence analysis and I showcase some of them in this post. This will guide you on how to run an analysis with and/or without time intelligence functions to achieve the time-related insights you seek.
Showing Results Up to The Current Date
One of the common issues in showing time comparison information is when you want to show results up to the current date or, as we say, today. For instance, you want to show the month to date (MTD) calculations up to the current date.
The tricky part is that historical information is mostly projected for the entire month, but you only want to show results up to the current date. You’ll run into a problem when you’re in the middle of the month, for example. The same goes for whatever “to-date” (QTD, YTD) number you’re trying to compare to a prior number. This first tutorial provides the solution for this specific time intelligence analysis. I demonstrate how you can show the true like-for-like time comparison.
In this tutorial, I walk through the steps, including the DAX formulas, on how to show true Power BI “to-date” time comparisons. In the example, I used quarter-to-date (QTD). I also demonstrate how to change the visualizations to show the information effectively in your Power BI reports.
Working with Non-Standard Calendars
Time intelligence functions in Power BI makes time comparison so much easier, as they do all the hard work for you. One of the most commonly used time intelligence functions is DATEADD. This function does all the time comparisons (days, months, quarters, years). However, it doesn’t work with time comparison calculations that involve weekly financial calendars.
Working out time comparisons with custom calendars is more complex than with standard calendars. In this case, you need to write custom logic to work out this analysis. I demonstrate how to solve this in this next tutorial. Here, I show you how to compare one period to another, based on a week, and not a certain date.
You’ll learn so much from this tutorial and you can apply the techniques to many different time frames that you’d like to calculate. You could analyze a week across any period. It could be one week to the same month of last year, or a week of the previous month, etc.
The example in this tutorial can be applied to any custom calendar table. All you need to do is replace the variables (VAR), depending on the time comparison you want to run. The logic is still similar.
Handling Weekdays vs Weekends
Another unique time intelligence analysis that I’d like to share with you is handling weekdays versus weekends as your sales periods. This analysis doesn’t involve any time intelligence functions, but this is a quite common time-related scenario in the real world of business.
You might want to calculate the sales you made on weekends only or your sales during the weekdays. This next tutorial demonstrates how you can do this by using some advanced DAX combinations and data model techniques.
In this tutorial, I show the steps on how to isolate elements in your data model to analyze the correct sales periods. From here, you can even branch out further and compare your weekend and weekday sales.
In this post, I share some of my time intelligence calculations tutorials that are quite unique and most relevant to the business world. Time intelligence functions could save you a lot of time and effort in making your financial reports. Learn how to optimize these DAX functions.
“Note that when using time intelligence functions, you always need to include parameters from the Date table.”
There are many time-related analyses that you can do in Power BI that don’t necessarily use time intelligence functions. They may require the usage of other DAX functions and the power of the data model. The key is to set up your data model well and understand how it works. If you have a well-structured model and have a good understanding of the DAX formulas, then you can do so much time intelligence analysis in Power BI.