‘A single version of the truth’, fact or myth?

Written by Jordy Vercammen - Analytics Lead


A common buzz sentence has been ‘a single version of the truth’ (SVOT), which is often used to describe the presence of a semantic model or layer in your BI environment. Evidently, before we dive into this, it is important to understand what a semantic layer is. The definition of the word ‘semantics’ is to give meaning or logic to words or the relationship between them. In the world of analytics, a semantic layer maps your data to your business terms and can define relationships between those. 

Fact or myth? 

Now that we generally know what a semantic layer is, is the term ‘a single version of the truth’ a fact or a myth? Well… It depends!

Linguistically or maybe even philosophically, I would suggest that a SVOT is a myth. The reason is that the definition itself implies that there could be multiple versions of the truth. And what is even meant by ‘the truth’? Is it the accuracy or recency of your data? Is it the definition of the entity ‘customer’ for example? 

But as I mentioned earlier, we are speaking about the world of analytics!

When we confine our definition to the analytical world, we could define it as One view of data that everyone in a company agrees is the real, trusted number for some operating data’. And this is a very important thing to achieve within an enterprise, for multiple reasons.


Why a common data language is important

The first and most important reason is to speak the same data language, company-wide. Speaking about the same data, which you can now trust, because it is managed by a semantic model that is clearly defined, allows your business to be run way more efficiently. Without this, you would never be able to make precise future predictions or have a trustworthy historical overview of your KPIs. People might both be talking about a ‘customer’ within the same company, but their understanding of the definition of a customer might be totally different without a semantic layer. 

Besides the automatic benefits that come with just having this in place, there are also some technical and/or operational features that are now within arm’s reach. Now that there is no more confusion about certain definitions or KPIs, this allows you to combine multiple data sources into single reports, dashboards, or insights in general. Also, because you now have a single trusted model, you could open that model to end-users and allow them to do self-service and create their own trusted insights.

On top of that, you now have a layer where you could not only apply logic, but also security! You could for example configure certain users only to be able to see certain dashboards. Or you could go even further than that and apply row- and/or column-level security. Let’s be clear that users don’t necessarily have to be real people! It could also be a visualization tool gathering data from your model through an API! Which allows your company to for example monetize its data. 

The final benefit I want to highlight - though it is definitely not the last nor are the ones I spoke about the only ones-, is the time-to-insight. Initially, you would have to set up your model, which would require a little bit more time rather than just pushing raw data to a dashboard. But once your model is set up, you can re-use your objects such as attributes or measures into multiple forms of delivery. Need to make a change to maybe the definition of an attribute afterward? No worries, change it in your model and it will be automatically applied to all insights using that attribute, saving you loads of time!


Now to draw a conclusion from all this… Is ‘a single version of the truth’ a fact or a myth? 

It depends on how you want to look at it! But I can confidently say that the pursuit of it, in a modern understanding of the business- and analytical world, is highly recommendable! The fact is, in my very own experience, I’ve only seen customers reap the rewards of working with a semantic model. 

Do you still have questions? Feel free to reach out to me: jordy.vercammen@agiliz.com. 
Agiliz in Italy

Cycling with colleagues for a good cause

For the fourth time, Parent Project aps is organizing the Dolomites for Duchenne (DXD). Similar to the previous editions, Agiliz will be participating. Together with our colleagues, we will cycle and walk through the Dolomites in Italy for three days while raising money for charity.

Dolomiti for Duchenne raises money for research

Dolomiti for Duchenne (DXD) is a mountain bike event organized by Parent Project aps. It is a unique and exciting experience with one goal: to raise money to fund research into Duchenne syndrome.

The event is non-competitive, and it consists of three stages that will challenge every mountain biker.

This year the organization has also defined hiking trails for the first time. Participants from all over Europe will cycle or walk together on unique routes to explore the beautiful region of Val Pusteria in the Dolomites.

Duchenne's Disease Research needed

When you are born with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, your muscles slowly break down and you lose your strength over time. Children with this muscle disease lack a substance (the protein dystrophin) that ensures that the muscles remain firm. As a result, the muscles become less and less strong as the children get older.

Researchers are still eagerly looking for more knowledge to slow down and stop the breakdown of these children's muscles. Hence, Parent Project aps organizes various events to raise money.


Agiliz x DXD

At Agiliz, we strongly believe in helping and supporting each other. Both inside and outside our company. We encourage our colleagues to exercise together and to do something to support a noble cause. 

We support the Duchenne Parent Project by sponsoring the full fees for all the colleagues who take part in this event, whether they will be cycling or walking. 

Because we have been participating in events like this for almost 10 years, cycling has become our company sport. By supporting good causes, our own team has become more active and connected.

Contact us 

Do you want to participate with us next time? 

Do you want to participate with us next time? Reach out to us!

We are also always open to suggestions to support a good cause.

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