SAP BI “Universe” – should have been called “Puniverse”

Recently i came into contact with a vendor of what can best be considered a “Public Dataset” where the company does some enrichment of this data – and this is their value proposition. The vendor’s sales person / account manager was using the term “Universe” to describe what my employers, as clients, had purchased. Being not really in either datawarehousing or business intelligence parts of the company – i just assumed that this term is somehow standard. At least everyone involved in this discussion did not bat an eye.

Today however, for some unknown reason – i just thought – gee, it’s rather presumptuous to call a dataset a “Universe”. It makes the term “Cloud” seem rather puny.

Interresting enough is that the Wikipedia article on datawarehousing doesn’t mention the term “Universe” once. It seems that SAP’s BusinessObjects calls a metadata construct which helps a reporting client map SQL queries onto to a set of database relational tables, Data Warehouse or Data Mart. So from what I can tell, it’s just SAP’s delusions of grandeur which have brought us this great IT term.

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1 comment
  1. David Jones said:

    I first heard the term “Universe” when working with Business Objects in 1997 – I cannot say how long it had already been in use at the time. I was working for Novatis in the DWH reporting area and I had to define several “Universes” – defining several Universes makes a joke of the term in itself.

    I guess when SAP took over Business Objects in 2007 they didn’t replace the term. But someone french with illusions of grandeur is probably to blame

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