Dimensional designs often need to accommodate multivalued dimensions. Patients can have multiple diagnoses. Students can have multiple majors. Consumers can have multiple hobbies or interests. Commercial customers can have multiple industry classifications. Employees can have multiple skills or certifications. Products can have multiple optional features. Bank accounts can have multiple customers. The multivalued dimension challenge […]

Accumulating snapshots are one of the three fundamental types of fact tables. We often state that accumulating snapshot fact tables are appropriate for predictable workflows with well-established milestones. They typically have five to ten key milestone dates representing the workflow/pipeline start, completion, and the key event dates in between. Our students and clients sometimes ask […]

Certain industries need the ability to look at a backlog of work, and project that backlog into the future for planning purposes. The classic example is a large services organization with multi-month or multiyear contracts representing a large sum of future dollars to be earned and/or hours to be worked. Construction companies, law firms and other organizations with […]

Students often blur the concepts of snowflakes, outriggers, and bridges. In this Design Tip, I’ll try to reduce the confusion surrounding these embellishments to the standard dimensional model. When a dimension table is snowflaked, the redundant many-to-one attributes are removed into separate dimension tables. For example, instead of collapsing hierarchical rollups such as brand and category into columns […]

When developing dimensional models, we strive to create robust dimension tables decorated with a rich set of descriptive attributes. The more relevant attributes we pack into dimensions, the greater the users’ ability to evaluate their business in new and creative ways. This is especially true when building a customer-centric dimension. We encourage you to embed intellectual capital in […]