Intro to Data Modeling


Data modeling in SAP Analytics Cloud is a way to enhance your data and prepare it for analysis. You can bulk edit your data, define categories and set hierarchical relationships, and create custom formulas.


SAP Analytics Cloud’s business intelligence function has two main components:

  • Models
  • Stories


Models are where you do all your data modeling in preparation for analysis. Data modeling entails data wrangling, or cleaning, your dataset, defining your measures and dimensions, and enhancing your data by establishing hierarchies, setting units and currencies, and adding formulas.


Stories, on the other hand, are where your data comes to life. In Story mode, you can visualize your data with charts and graphs, giving you an entirely new way to look at your data and gain valuable insight about your business.

While you can skip data modeling altogether and head straight into Story mode, there are some benefits to taking some time in Modeler. If you want to quickly see what your data would look like in a chart, then you may want to go to Story mode right away.


However, when you start in Modeler view, you can really enhance your stories with data modeling. Once you’re in Modeler, your screen will look something like this.



In this article, we are going to discuss the basics of data modeling and some of the more common uses of the Modeler, such as:

  • Data wrangling
  • Setting units and currencies
  • Creating hierarchies
  • Adding formulas


Data wrangling

Often times when you record data, there are inaccuracies that can affect your analysis. For instance, perhaps your dates may be in different formats, you may have two different spellings for names such as ‘LA’ and ‘Los Angeles’, there may be typos, and so on. So before you begin your analysis, you want to ensure your data is wrangled properly.

When you import your data into SAP Analytics Cloud Modeler, you will have the opportunity to manually clean up any of these discrepancies.


Define measures and dimensions


measure is a something quantifiable — units sold, sales revenue, gross margin, etc.


dimension is something qualitative — location, name, product type, product category, etc.


What if your product IDs are all numbers? The system may interpret that as a measure, and not a dimension.


To fix this, select the column, and change the attribution to the appropriate type.


Find and replace

In our example above, we stated we have some city entries as ‘LA’ and others as ‘Los Angeles’. These are the same cities and we want to combine them. SAP Analytics Cloud makes it easy to discover this discrepancy and fix it.


Combining and splitting columns

Another useful feature in SAP Analytics Cloud is combining and splitting. Suppose you have one column that contains both your product type and product category (e.g. Juices, Apple). You can easily split this into two distinct columns with just a few clicks.

  1. Select the column you want to split
  2. Click on one of the split options. This allows you to create new columns that are separated by spaces, dashes, commas, etc.

Combining two columns is just as easy.


Units & Currencies

Units & Currencies allows you to set the value type and display units. Select one of the following from the list:

  • Blank — No unit will be specified
  • % — The percentage option displays the percentage symbol after the value
  • Label — You can enter a text label up to 30 characters in length to define your own display units. This can be a unit of measure or a packaging unit such as ‘Bottles’
  • Currency — Use this option for all monetary values



Hierarchy is used to establish parent-child relationships within your data. For example, suppose you have sales data for the following:

  • Global
  • Continent
  • Country
  • State
  • City


You can create a hierarchical relationship by establishing Global sales as the parent, Continent as the child, and then continue to do this all the way down.


It would look something like this:

  • Global
    • Continent
      • Country
        • State
          • City


Once in Story mode, your enriched charts will allow you to drill down to the different layers.



The Formula column is where you can do calculations to test variables. For example, suppose you have two store locations and you want to compare the profits from Store A with Store B. Profits alone don’t tell the full story. To do a proper analysis, you may also want to know:

  • What are their sizes?
  • Do they have the same inventory?
  • Is one in a better location?
  • Is one next to a Starbucks?
  • What are their hours of operation?
  • What about parking?
  • How are their customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores?
  • Using CSAT scores, you could create the following formula: [profit] / [CSAT].


This would create a new measure that allows you to compare store A with store B, and how their relative CSAT scores affect profitability.



Data modeling in SAP Analytics Cloud

SAP Analytics Cloud is a powerful tool for users of all skill levels. It helps you put your analytics into action and improve your business. You can easily import your data into Modeler and start telling Stories with visual charts and graphs.