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Understanding a data model

With the advent of self-service business intelligence, yet another concept needs to be understood: the data model. If you are working with Power Pivot, Power BI or another BI solution, data is delivered in what is called a star schema. In this free video course, you will learn to understand a data model and the associated data structure. This knowledge is a must for people working with Power BI and Power Pivot.

Developing a data model

Developing data models is expert work. It usually requires significant time since data models for analytical purposes often include data from multiple sources. All the data must be checked before being entered into the database. Is everything written the same way? Are any data missing? Can we link data coming from different systems? There are numerous questions that have to be asked when building a data model.

Historical data must also be taken into account. What if you want to see information about a salesperson who has recently switched regions? It is important that her sales from her previous region remain with her and are not suddenly under the name of the colleague who has taken over the region.

In short, data models have many challenges. As a report designer or dashboard developer, it is important to know how these models are built. Fortunately, there is a standard model: the star schema. In this free video course, you’ll learn how a star schema works so that you can use it for all your reporting needs.

The course Understanding a data model

In this completely free online course, you will learn step-by-step how to read an existing data model and how to use it. You learn different terms such as facts and dimensions. On some parts we will go a little deeper. By the end of the course, you should be able to create your reports and dashboards based on a provided data model in the form of a star model. You can use this knowledge for Power BI, Power Pivot and reporting services, for example, but also when working with other BI-Tools such as Qlik and Tableau.


In the introduction, we will briefly tell you the background of a data model and what to expect in this course.

Facts and dimensions

Facts and dimensions are at the heart of the data model. You learn what they are and how to use them. We further discuss different types of facts and different types of dimension types. Of course, you will also learn how a star model deals with history and what to expect from it.

Example of a star

At the end of the course we will give you concrete example of a star model. From this you can see how it works in practice.

Semantic layer

To make the course complete, we end with a brief explanation of the semantic layer. This is almost always used, and in the last video you get some more information about this so you know what to expect when someone says to use this in the data model.


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Digitaaleon is here to help

Want to know how understanding data models can benefit your organization? Digitaaleon is happy to help you out. We can provide excellent support for inventorying and automating your processes and making data transparent.

Are you curious about the possibilities? Would you like to better understand our service or meet with our team? If so, we would love for you to reach out. You can call Digitaaleon at +31 85 00 43 678, email us at info@digitaaleon.nl or fill out the contact form on our website.

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