What is a Universal Semantic Layer?

The “universal semantic layer” (USL) is the new popular term in IT security, business intelligence (BI), and big data. But, what is a semantic layer? The data saved in an organization stays useless as the management has no idea of what to do with it. They have no idea how to utilize the data to match the security, performance, or business tool incorporation they build in their system.

The USL is also known as a universal access layer because of its ability to perform extensive data calculations and access different data at a faster pace. It enables the customers to discover and access data using standard search terms like recent purchases, prospects, payments, etc. In brief, USL can put meaning to data. One can put their context parallel to the particular data or term to understand it better. For example, the management or staff can determine which product made the highest sales this month or which department made significant losses and most minor progress.

What is the definition of USL?

You can define USL as “the company’s portrayal of business data that helps consumers access data independently using typical business labels.” The USL can also be described as a tool to convert complex metadata (technical terms) into easily recognizable metadata (business terms).

The business metadata is usually complex, so many don’t understand or decodable, and here comes the requirement of a universal way to represent it. There are many advantages to having a universal layer. They make interactions between different teams and stakeholders of business easy. Even the customers can understand the data when they access it via the company’s system/website.

The advantages of the Universal Semantic Layer can be listed as follow:

Connect Anything

The ability of USL to connect with any business intelligence client tool is a great feature. A good USL contains an open data access API (application programming interface) and no semantic layer seal. Hence, information about the USL is saved in a format that everyone understands, not only in the manufacturer’s context. And everyone will benefit if the metadata is saved in a format that’s accessible to all.

Proper governance

One can access the history & lineage of USL and what it is made up of. A good USL should be able to track changes like a ledger tracks alterations in an account. It acts as a search engine for every party related to the business. For the stakeholders of the business, everything they want to know is just a few clicks away. It also improves the relation between all the parties involved and creates transparency.

Deep security

The USL must control and contain the data of the company. Data is a vital asset all companies have, and so one must protect it. The semantic layer provides keys, authorization, and authentication for logging in and searching the data. No one without the key and authentication can breach into the semantic layer system.

Performance and consistency

The USL will be used for many projects and storing and retrieving data. Big data and business intelligence play an important role in USL’s performance. The business intelligence tools cannot keep up with today’s required functions like raw reporting speed and concurrency.

So, the need for USL is higher than before. The universal semantic layer materializes views, renders cubes, or other things that make big data better and faster. These qualities of USL make organizations incorporate it into their system. It will help everybody to access and use the data available.

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