Exploring the Unified Star Schema with Francesco Puppini

“I wanted to expand the scope of what business users can analyze. With USS, they can freely monitor every aspect of the company without having to worry about incorrect numbers.” says Francesco Puppini. Read how this data pioneer describes the new approach to data he brings with the Unified Star Schema and the Puppini bridge.

Revolt BI
7. February 2024

Francesco Puppini, a consultant in business intelligence and data warehousing with over 20 years of experience in fields including banking and automotive (with companies like Deutsche Bank, Renault, Barclays), is currently pioneering at Astrato, a cloud-based data analytics platform. Also serving as an adjunct professor at Bologna Business School, he envisions BI as being as straightforward as e-commerce, advocating for a system where data elements are as easily accessible as items in a shopping cart.

Francesco came to our DataPunkers meetup in Prague to introduce his revolutionary data modeling technique and show us how the bridge will transform the life of business users. If you couldn’t participate at the event here is the link to his presentation.

Simplifying Data Analytics

In his pursuit to simplify data analytics, Puppini underscores the limitations of the traditional star schema. He highlights how this often results in static reports and limited user engagement. Echoing his sentiment, “Users typically can only refresh data and apply filters,” he underscores the need for more dynamic and user-friendly data analytics platforms. Furthermore, one traditional star schema is monothematic – allows you to see only one aspect of your business, such as HR or sales, while USS offers to overview all the aspects in one single place.

The Unified Star Schema: A Comprehensive Approach

In 2020, Puppini co-authored “The Unified Star Schema: An Agile and Resilient Approach to Data Warehouse and Analytics Design” with Bill Inmon, the father of data warehousing. This work introduces the Unified Star Schema (USS), offering a more interconnected and holistic approach compared to restrictive traditional star schema. 

I wanted to widen the scope of what business users can analyze. With the USS, they can freely follow every aspect of the company, without worrying about incorrect numbers

explains Francesco

Practical Application and Software Integration

Puppini demonstrates the USS’s practicality, emphasizing its compatibility with popular business intelligence tools such as Tableau, Qlik, and PowerBI. This integration enables business users to create complex reports independently, aligning with Puppini’s goal of democratizing data analytics. 

Read more about the Puppini bridge here

Challenges and Prospects

While optimistic about the future of data analytics, Puppini acknowledges current challenges, such as the complexity of data structures and the need for more analytics interfaces for business users. Nevertheless, he remains positive about advancements like the USS, which are making data analytics more accessible and user-centric. 

The innovation I am bringing is not a revolution in the data business itself but in creating the easy access to business data to non-technical users

Francesco Puppini


Francesco Puppini’s insights into the Unified Star Schema, drawing from his extensive experience in data analytics and business intelligence, mark a significant stride in simplifying data analytics for businesses. The Puppini Bridge, integral to this schema, could be pivotal in enhancing the effectiveness and approachability of data analytics for diverse business needs.

Read some of our other articles