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Before You Start... (questions to ask and answer first)

Before you even login to BusinessObjects, you should have a good idea of what business question you need to answer using the Data Warehouse and how to phrase that question so that you can get a data-rich, accurate answer. Framing your question in this manner will result in more efficient queries and more accurate reports. Hastily conceived initial questions are a common issue with users when creating new queries.

Help with re-phrasing your initial general question can be found for some collections in the 'scenarios' posted on the collection home pages. These scenarios step you through re-phrasing the questions as well as explain how to choose the correct data elements. Numerous collection-specific questions will help you define your query with that collection's data.

You may also want to keep in mind some of these general questions and concepts:

  • What information are you looking for? In what collection does this data reside, and which BusinessObject universe would be best to use?
  • Bear in mind the level of detail data you need, the time periods concerned, and which source system you would use to verify the data retrieved.
  • Once you have a basic idea of the results you need, consider how the query should be constrained -- by time period? account segment(s)? employee or organization names/codes?
  • What will you do with your results? If you are presenting them to others, you may want to include segment descriptions for those unfamiliar with codes. Also, if you plan to export the data, you may want to include objects which you have used to constrain your query, to better identify the data in the exported file. (For example, although you may have used Accounting_Period as a constraint, it might help to have the period appear as a column in your exported file, so you know what period that data represents.)

Refer to the Guidelines for Writing Queries for more detailed examples. Also, for more information about considerations particular to the General Ledger data collection, refer to the collection online tutorial. (A similar page also exists for the Salary Management data collection.)

Besides asking/answering these questions, best practice is to review the cautions in the the table documentation for the collection that you will be using.


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Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
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Information Systems and Computing, University of Pennsylvania