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What is a data mart?

A data mart is a group of data from a given subject area--for example human resources--specifically structured for access and reporting.  It is usually put together into structures called star schemas (or simply stars) which make accessing the data extremely easy and efficient.  Each star holds data for a specific subset of the data mart.  Some examples from the HR data mart include: Employee Actions, Employee Leave, and Payroll Charge.

A star is made up of facts--the numeric values that can be summed, like payroll amounts or hours of leave taken--and dimensions which are used to filter, group, and label the facts such as Employee, Position, Leave Type, Cost Center, etc.

You use a BI tool such as Cognos to access the data mart stars and write queries and reports.

What does ‘Boiler Insight’ mean at Purdue?

Boiler Insight is the new name for the entire suite of Purdue Business Intelligence environments that are supported by the BICC.  This includes many of the BI systems that people have been using for some time, such as SAP BW and the Student ODS/EDW, but also includes the new data mart environments that are being created now, such as the HR Data Mart.

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