Skip to main content

Getting started with the Unified Data Model


The unified data model is a templated model that leverages unified layers. The unified layers are resources that provide an abstraction layer to standardize the details of transformed pipelines, providing a set of common functional outputs. By standardizing the pipeline output, it creates a universal model and drives our standard prepackaged analytics in Power BI, Tableau or ZAP Data Hub, and any custom analytics created from a unified data model, to work seamlessly regardless of the underlying enterprise resource planning (ERP) software source.

Unified Data Model concepts and terms

Each layer contains the following categories:

  • Layer description.

  • Table with defining columns:

    • Column Name - The name of the column to be mapped to in the unified layer.

    • Data Type - The data type of the column in the unified layer (e.g. Numeric, Text, Integer, or Date).

    • Description - A description of the column. This will help to identify functionally which columns need to be mapped.

    • Keys - An indication of whether the column is a Primary key, Additional key, or neither.

  • Relationship table that lists the relationships that the unified layer has with other layers. These relationships are defined by mappings of key columns between layers. Key columns are usually made up of the concatenation of key columns with the company column of a dimension pipeline. If the dimension is not a per company dimension, a concatenation with a blank value may be used.

  • General notes about the design of the unified layer.

For a full list of definitions, refer to this document:

Model customization support policy

Model customization

Data Hub's Power BI Apps on AppSource and PBIX files that we make available for download rely on a given set of pipelines and column structures that are defined by our Unified Layers and Unified Data Models.

By using our Power BI Apps and Unified Data Models, you are agreeing to enter into a Support understanding with us. Providing that you keep working within the structure of the pre-built Unified Layers, we warrant that every new Power BI App version will be supported.


This Support agreement will be broken under the following scenarios:

  • Unified Layer resources are edited and standard columns are modified or removed.

  • Unified Layer Steps are removed from pipelines.

When customizing your data model, it is important to note that our Power BI Apps may only continue to function if your changes do not impact the structure of PBIX files, (i.e. default set of Unified Layer columns).

You may customize Steps in your pipelines to modify the data mapped to Unified layer columns or bring more columns in the Unified Layer Step of your pipelines. We cannot guarantee that a customized Unified layer-pipeline and Power BI dataset will continue to return correct data for a given Unified Data Model. Once customized, it becomes your sole responsibility.

In the event that we introduce a breaking change, you will be notified.

For more information, refer to the Knowledge Base Article: Unified Layer and Solution versions support.

Customizing PBIX files

Requests for PBIX file customization may be made direct to ZAP Support via the ZAP HelpDesk.

Whilst this path allows full control and flexibility for modifying and extending the Power BI data sets and reports as well as establishing a good starting point for your Power BI analytics journey, it is important to acknowledge that, unlike Apps, the PBIX files do not auto-update. Maintaining those files becomes your sole responsibility.

In this case, you will only receive limited support from ZAP, as ZAP cannot be responsible for your customized design.