Create a model

1. Understand models

About the model

The next step in building your solution is to define the model.

A model is the data model of your monitored process in Decision Insight. The model is the central component that describes what information is available to the application and includes the description of entities, their attributes and how they relate to each other. These relationships are the glue that binds an application together.

To find out more about models, see the Model page in the Glossary.

In this tutorial, your model will reflect the scope identified by the client rather than the entirety of their business process.

The business workflow process used for this tutorial comprises seven steps. Each step generates events. Your application receives these events. The following table describes the business workflow steps and events used in this tutorial. For this first iteration, you will focus on New Order events only.

Process step Generated events
Purchase Orders Received New Order


Valid Order


Invalid Order

Scheduler Line Request Scheduled
Production Line Line Request Completed

Logistics Order



Purchase Order Invoicing Invoiced
Receivables Payment Received

About entities

To find out more about entities, see the Entity page in the Glossary.

2. Create an entity for purchase orders

Follow these steps to create an Order entity:

Step Action

On the the left menu, click Entities.

2 To create your first entity, click New Entity. A pop-up window is displayed.
3 Select the Mono-dimensional option, then click Create.

In the Details area, enter the following information:

  • Space: Select the Model space.
  • Description: Free-form text field to provide additional information. Use a label that describes this entity. For example, Purchase Order.
  • Type: We are defining the business items within the process. Items are not static; they move through the process. For entities that move, select Transaction.
  • Do not change any advanced settings

Click Save.


An error message is displayed because you were attempting to save an entity with no name.

You might get this type of error messages often until you become familiar with defining entities and relationships in Decision Insight.


To give a name to your entity, enter Order in the Enter name here text field at the top of the pop-up window.

7 Click Save. Your entity is created.

3. Add attributes to the Order entity

You have just created the Order entity, but that entity is still empty. Create data for your entity, that is attributes. 

About attributes

Entity attributes define the characteristics of an entity.

There are four types of attributes:

  • Observed Attribute 
  • Observed Relation 
  • Manual Constant 
  • Manual Threshold

In this tutorial, you will be defining observed attributes – information about an entity.

Many entities comprise the following two basic attributes, including the entity you've just created:

  • A unique identifier for each instance of an entity – for Order, this corresponds to the cycle number assigned to each purchase order that the Kabels company receives.
  • A text-based label that describes or identifies each instance – for Order, this corresponds to the purchase order number assigned by the customer.

Decision Insight requires that every entity has at least one Key field that is unique. The unique ID enables Decision Insight to identify the associated entity while the Name of a purchase order instance is what helps dashboard users recognize the instance.

Define the unique identifier attribute

To define the unique identifier attribute for Order, follow these steps.

Step Action

To define attributes of an Entity, you start at the same screen we last saw in the previous task, that is Configuration Menu > Entities.


Click the pencil icon for the Order entity under Actions.


In the left menu, click Attributes. The list of attributes for the Order entity is displayed.

Some were created automatically:

  • instance
  • temporal Input
4 In the You can also create a drop-down, select Observed Attribute. A pop-up window for creating your attribute is displayed.
5 In the Enter title here text box, enter CycleNumber.

In the Space drop-down, select the Model space.


Leave Type set to String and Rhythm set to None.

8 In the Description field, enter a description like Cycle Number of the Order.
9 Click Done.

Did you Know: Why is Cycle a string?

Our contact at Kabels explains that the CycleNumber is always a whole number. You could have chosen to configure it as an integer. And you wouldn’t be wrong. But you might not have the exact same result.

There are two reasons to treat the CycleNumber attribute as a string:

  • CycleNumber can be an integer – except when it isn’t. There might be situations where a purchase order is manually re-entered and the Cycle Number might now have a string as a prefix or a suffix such as, for example, 019815A or PDM-0199815. 
  • When you use an attribute as an integer in your search dashboard, the available comparators are intended for numeric values, not numeric identifiers. That limits the selectors available for numbers.

Add the CustomerReference attribute

Create a CustomerReference attribute in the same way as you created the CycleNumber attribute. Try this on your own. Here are some clues about how to fill the fields.

Step Clue

Observed attribute

2 CustomerReference
3 String
4 Customer reference for this order

Relate attributes to customer data

Kabels, the company for which you are setting up Decision Insight, provided the following sample data from a log file that you are going to import in your application: 

Application creation date

Important: Because you set your application creation date to the first day of the previous month, you can only import data that is dated after that creation date. If you need to, modify the timestamp of the orders in the log file below, depending on when you start following this tutorial.

Timestamp CustomerName CustomerReference CycleNumber
2017-12-01T14:24:14 Utensil Systems 9558RQ 16040022
2017-12-01T14:36:38 Springbok Space ORDN051 16040023
2017-12-01T14:49:02 Triangle Technologies 1711 16040024
2017-12-01T15:01:26 Triangle Technologies 1711.1 16040025

A log entry is created when a new purchase order is assigned a cycle number. Each column in the log file should match an entity attribute:

  • You have already defined attributes for the data labeled CustomerReference and CycleNumber. 
  • You will want to create a CustomerName attribute.
  • You can use the instance attribute – the one that Decision Insight automatically creates –  for the Timetamp column.

Note: The Timestamp column in the log file is useful for transaction data to know the time when each purchase order was received.The instance attribute holds the time-related information about each instance of the Order entity. 

Add the customer name attribute

To create the CustomerName attribute, follow the same steps as when you created the CycleNumber and CustomerReference attributes.

Add a key attribute

Now you will learn how to define a key, which Decision Insight will use to manage the instances of purchase orders.

Note: You can select a key only from the list of existing attributes for your entity.

Step Action
1 If you are still in edit mode for the Order entity, proceed to the next step. If you saved your instance at the end of the last step, click the pencil icon for Order from the entity list.
2 Click Keys on the left menu.
3 Click New Key.
4 Click Add Attribute.

In the Select Attributes dialog box, only the CycleNumber attribute is guaranteed to be unique. Use this attribute as the key.

Click the check box for CycleNumber.

6 Click Done.

On the New Key screen, enter a name for the key in the Enter title here text box.This tutorial uses a naming convention for keys of "key[Entity]". So, enter  KeyOrder.

8 Click Done.
9 You have finished configuring the Order entity. Click Save.

Check that all attributes are added

When you are done, your table of entities in the Model Configuration page should contain information that matches this table. 

From the Application configuration screen, check that you have all the attributes: 

Step Action

On the left menu, click Attributes


From the list of entities, click Order.

The list of attributes should contain:

  • CustomerName
  • CustomerReference
  • CycleNumber
  • instance
3 If your list is different, review the steps you followed and try to correct the error.

If all attributes are present, proceed to the next step.

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