The Star Schema

Data modeling falls into the second pillar of data. Yesterday we talked about the three basics of data modeling. The top data model technique for PowerBI reporting is called a star schema. The name comes from the star-like shape of the model. It has a main table in the middle called a “Fact” and a handful of arm tables that link to the main table called “Dimensions”. Here’s an example from Microsoft.

Think of the middle table as holding all your transactional facts which hold no real value by themselves until they have some aggregate functions applied to them. The dimensions are normally fewer records and are ways to group your transactional facts. Some common examples of dimensions: Time, Geographic Region, Department, Line of Business, etc.

When you bring in dimensions, you’ll see your facts in a way that start to create meaningful information. This is where the term business intelligence comes from. A good data model can make the preparation of reporting so much easier.

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