July 18, 2018
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Of all of the analytics solutions offered by your digital workplace, data feeds are the most powerful. They're also the most complex. The tables contain an incredible amount of information about your Igloo and the activity of your members, available to any Administrator who can assemble the correct query. Often this involves joining tables together on attributes to connect all of the information you need, and to do that, you'll need to match on keys.
Keys are values that correspond to a single item across several tables, letting you match them up to join tables together. They're a unique identifier for member accounts, articles, files, Channels, Spaces, and anything else in your digital workplace. Entries may have multiple keys connected to them, to identify different things. A file in the fContentDocument table, for instance, will have a key for the Space it's in, another for the folder, one for the Folder Channel, for the member who created it, and for the time it was published.
Fact tables like fContentDocument are often made up of collections of keys that let you join together other tables they're related to, like using dUser to find out who added a file, or dFolder to find all of the items in a specific folder. essentially, keys are a way of bridging different entries from fact tables, which stored related keys, to dimension tables, which store the actual information.
You can't make queries on keys from your browser, you'll need a data utility, like Excel or Microsoft Power BI. Keys have matching items across tables, and that's how you'll find them. The user_key column in the dUser table matches the user_key column in fContentBlog, for example. Content keys are specific to content types, so there are keys for blogs, calendars, forums, etc. Using Excel or Power BI, you'll be able to join tables on those keys using the Merge Queries option. Select the column you want to join on, the type of join, and it will combine all of the matching rows from the two tables.
Joining tables this way, especially fact tables, will give you access to additional keys and allow more complex joins. Using these keys, you can answer incredibly specific questions. Find out who looked at a blog post on a specific day, or all of the activity by members in a specific Group in a particular Folder Channel. The information is at your fingertips, and keys will help unlock it.
I've mentioned a few important keys here, and it's worth highlighting a few more.
Using keys to your advantage will make it easy to answer specific analytics questions that you might have about new campaigns in your digital workplace, engagement in new areas, or who your most active members are. Understanding keys is essential to using data feeds effectively.
If you have questions about keys or analytics, you can leave a comment here, or ask a question in the Community area.