A universe is an organized collection of metadata objects that enable business users to analyze and report on corporate data in a nontechnical language. It provides the business users with an easy way to access and analyze data on their own, without involving IT to extract data for them. The users are free to analyze data and create reports using relevant business language, regardless of the underlying data sources and structures.
A universe can be described as a translator. The assumption is that business users do not know how to write data source code such as SQL or MDX. The universe acts as a translator between the terminology of the business users and the data source language.
Most organizations create and use more than one universe. Another way to describe a universe is as a subset of information. For example, your Human Resources department has different reporting needs than your Operations department. Each department can have their own universe, even if the HR and Operations data is contained in the same data source.
Components of a Universe
Typically, there are 3 components of every universe:
- A connection or connection shortcut to the reporting data source.
- A data foundation that identifies the tables that contain the data needed for reports and dashboards.
- A business layer further identifies the specific columns and facts requires for reports and dashboards.
The process to create a universe is almost the same for both relational and OLAP data sources. The exception is for a universe based on an OLAP source, which does require a data foundation.
Universes and SAP Applications
Universes created using the Information Design Tool (IDT) can be used by the following SAP data analysis and reporting applications:
- SAP Analytics Cloud
- SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence