Universes in SAP BusinessObjects

The BusinessObjects universe is a business representation of organization’s data that helps end users access data autonomously using common business terms and it isolates business users from the technical details of the databases where source data is stored. Universes are made up of objects and classes that are mapped to the source data in the database and accessed through queries and reports.

Users retrieve data using descriptive terms used in the business environment with the company’s business terminology.

Universe is a semantic layer that maps complex data into descriptive business terms used across the organization, such as product, customer, region, revenue, margin or costs.

The design and scope of a universe schema should always derive from the end-user requirements as it provides an interface for them to run queries against a source database, create reports and analyze data.

It is absolutely necessary to understand the underlying data prior to starting the universe development process. This might be a data warehouse model (Star, Snowflake or Fact Constellation schema), Data Mart or OLTP source system.

Technically, the universe file has an .unv extension and contains the following information:

  • Connection parameters to a data source – only one source can be defined for a universe. However if necessary, universes can be joined on a report level (in WebIntelligence for instance).
  • SQL structures (objects), grouped into classes, that map to actual SQL structures in the database such as schemas, tables, columns, functions and procedures.
  • A diagram of the tables and joins used in the database structures that are included in the schema.

Every universe contains the following two structures that represent the source data:

  • Class – is a logical grouping of objects within a universe which represents a category of objects, indicates the category of the contained objects. Classes can be divided hierarchically into subclasses and represented as folders on a tree hierarchy in the universe pane.
  • Object – is a component named with a business naming standard that maps to data in the database or calls a database function or uses other objects from within the same universe. Each objects can be qualified as a Dimension, a Detail or a Measure. Objects represent meaningful entities, facts or calculations used by the business users.


Find the designer in the start menu:
Start -> Programs -> Business Objects XI -> BusinessObjects … -> Designer.


The BO Universe Designer window is split into two main areas:

Structure pane – located on the right-hand side. The place where users insert the database tables and view the universe structure that generates the FROM and SELECT clauses into a SQL statement.
The structure pane is a dynamic graphical view which can be adjusted easily and navigated with such commands as zoom, arrange tables option, drag and drop operations, roll-up/unroll tables (show all columns or table header only). Furthermore, a View table/column values option is available for gaining a partial view of the data content of the given table or column.

Universe pane (object explorer) – located on the left-hand side, in which users create the classes and objects seen later when building queries using the given universe. The objects physically point to the tables from the Structure pane.

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