We’re improving modeling in SAP Analytics Cloud!

Setting up a model can be a bit of a challenging task. We know you have questions about models, like:

“It’s easy for me to understand the structure of a story, or a dataset, but what’s the structure of a model?”

“I know that a model represents my data, but then why can’t I see the data in the model?”

Until now, you’ve had to imagine what the model structure looks like, and what the data contents are. The model consisted of a list of your dimensions, with the side panel giving you details about the model or a selected dimension:

In 2020.QRC3, we’re introducing two new views to help answer those questions. If you have a preview tenant, they’re already there, as of 2020.11!

Introducing the new Structure view

The Structure view is an easy to understand graphical view that shows you a star schema diagram representing the contents of your model. This view helps you to visualize how your fact data, attributes, and properties all relate to each other. Here’s an example:

At a glance, you can see the Data Foundation (fact data… more on that later), and the model’s dimensions surrounding the Data Foundation.

Here’s another example, showing part of a planning model’s structure:

Notice how the dimension box shows you more information based on the dimension type? For Version dimensions, it shows how many public versions there are, and whether there are any private versions. For Date dimensions, it shows the granularity and default hierarchy, and even whether the Fiscal Year setting has been applied:

If you’ve got a large model structure, the text in the schema diagram might be too small to read. Not a problem. You can change the magnification to zoom in to just the part you’re interested in. And when you’re zoomed in, you can drag the diagram around to look at other areas.

Or, if you want to see the big picture, use the “Fit to Window” icon to scale the whole schema diagram to fit in the Structure view.

If you want to add a new dimension or existing dimension to your model, you can do that from the toolbar as usual, but also right from the Structure view using these buttons:

If you want to see the contents of a dimension, just click this icon to switch to the grid display:

“You’ve mentioned the ‘Data Foundation’. What’s that?”

Glad you asked…

The new Data Foundation view

The Data Foundation view shows you the fact table containing the raw, unaggregated transactional data loaded into your model. Here’s an example:

You can filter and sort the data to see what kind of data there is in a dimension:

The Total Number of Results is the total number of rows of data, not including any filtering you’ve applied, across all versions:

In planning models, you can also switch between the different public versions of your data; for example, to see if data exists for a selected version:

Everything works together

The Structure and Data Foundation views work together with the dimension list and Details panel to give you a consistent picture of your data. For example, if you click a dimension in the schema diagram, the other views all focus on that dimension:

“Hey, these new views are great… But that’s a lot of info on the screen. I can’t see much of the Structure view, or the Data Foundation view either. I’m guessing you have a solution for that?”

We sure do…

A flexible, customizable layout

Yep, that’s a lot of info displayed on one screen. And imagine if you were looking at the previous image on a smartphone! Often, you’ll want to hide some of the Modeler’s panes, or resize them, to focus on the information you’re interested in. Luckily, that’s easy to do.

To switch the new views on and off, just click these toggle buttons:

Or to resize the panes, just drag or double-click the pane borders:

“Okay, but after I’ve customized the Modeler to look just the way I want it, will I have to set it up again next time?”

Don’t worry about losing those settings! We save your settings automatically, so that everything will look the same the next time you log on, or when you switch to another model.

Do these changes help you?

We hope these improvements help you understand your model better, make you happier, and make your kids clean their rooms. Give the new Modeler a try, and let us know what you think in the Comments!