Are You a Master of Your Universe or a Slave to it?

Moving from the old Universe Design Tool (UDT) to the new Information Design Tool (IDT) is a bit like upgrading your washing machine.

The new washing machines have lots of additional features and can be set to do dozens of different cycles, washes, rinses, spins – you can even change the alarm to different tunes. It takes time and some trial and error to figure out the features you want to use and those you don’t. Nobody likes to read the manual (although it’s not a bad idea) and you can usually find videos and help on-line that will set you straight when things go wrong.

And once you master that new washing machine, you will love it and never regret replacing that old one.

The new Information Design Tool is the same. Once you learn how to use the right settings and optimize them for different usages, you will get good results and you won’t regret replacing UDT.

Since the old universe format (UNV) and UDT is nearing end of life in the next few years, many customers are either already using or converting to the new IDT and its UNX format. The conversion process itself is quick and straightforward but the challenges usually come with re-connecting the Web Intelligence reports to the new universe and regression testing to make sure there are no differences in the report as a result of the universe change.

There are bulk Web Intelligence report re-connect utilities available in the BusinessObjects Workflow Assistant in the CMC and third-party products like 360View which can help if you have a lot of reports connected to your universes.

There are also third-party tools like Beyond Compare and 360Bind that can do an electronic comparison between the before and after re-connected report outputs and identify any differences. Again, this is useful if you have a large number of reports connected to your universes.

However, sometimes it may be better not to convert at all and, instead, take the opportunity to re-design the universe in IDT based on updated user requirements and best practices. I have encountered many customers who have done this and also used it as an opportunity to clean up unused objects and both improve and streamline their universes.

There are many best practices when designing a universe but the most important is to collaborate with the business to make sure you are creating something they will understand and use. Creating a new universe should be an iterative process with constant back and forth with the users who will use it, so they feel that it is theirs and so are far more likely to use it and help keep it relevant.

It is best to avoid creating big and complex universes with too many objects and ensure you use simple and meaningful names for your objects. At this year’s IBIS 2023, there will be some excellent sessions on universe design best practices , features and converting to IDT, in particular :

  • IDT- Standards, Tips, Best Practices and Hacks
  • How Aggregate Awareness in Universes can become your best friend to deal with a Data-heavy Reporting Environment
  • Life, the Universe and Everything (i.e., Your Complete Guide from UNV to UNX)

You can find the synopses by clicking on them in the Agenda. There is also a 2-day hands-on IDT Universe Design boot camp scheduled as a virtual class after IBIS.

So now is the time to become a master of your universes and get those washing machine settings optimized so you can save on resources, , cost and, of course, time itself.

About pgrill

Paul Grill started his career in Information Technology in the U.K. in 1978, as an Executive Data Processing Trainee for Honeywell. More than thirty years later, he still has a voracious appetite for learning as Information Technology continues to advance at an ever accelerating pace. He was first introduced to the world of Business Intelligence in 1991, in France, when he saw a demonstration of an early version of BusinessObjects on Windows 2.1. He returned to the U.S. to rave about this phenomenal product, but it was many years before BusinessObjects made it into the mainstream. Paul founded InfoSol in 1997, and made Business Intelligence one of the key solutions offered by the company. Today, InfoSol is a leading SAP BusinessObjects solutions partner, known for its expert consulting, education and innovative add-on solutions. Paul is well known within the SAP BusinessObjects community for his extensive knowledge of Business Intelligence, and he has lectured and written many articles on the subject. Paul enjoys writing, running and coaching kids soccer, and is passionate about Ancient Egyptology.

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