Hierarchies (Master Data Services)

A hierarchy is a tree-based structure that you can use to:

  • Group similar members for organizational purposes.

  • Consolidate and summarize members for reporting and analysis.

You can create multiple hierarchies to view and organize your members in different ways. Each hierarchy contains all members from one or more entities. When a member is added, changed, or deleted, all hierarchies are updated. This ensures that your master data is accurate in all hierarchies.

Without a master data system, new members that are not added to all hierarchies cause your reports to become inconsistent. When a member is added or removed, it must be updated everywhere: in your organization's transactional systems, in any ad hoc spreadsheets, or in any other down-stream systems. Hierarchies help ensure that members are not counted more than once or not counted at all.

A hierarchy in is different from a taxonomy. A taxonomy organizes members by multiple attributes at the same time, while a hierarchy organizes members by one attribute at a time. A taxonomy can include the same member multiple times, while a hierarchy includes a member only once.

For example, the same bike can be included in a taxonomy twice: once because it's red, and once because it's a size 38. In a hierarchy, the bike is included only once, so you must decide whether to show it in relation to its color or to size.


In the following example, product members are grouped by subcategory members.

Hierarchy example

You can create hierarchies for members:

  • From a single entity, which is called an explicit hierarchy.

  • From multiple entities based on the existing relationships between entities and their attributes, which is called a derived hierarchy.


All members in a hierarchy must be within the same model.