Fact and Fact Table Types
There are three types of facts:
Let us use examples to illustrate each of the three types of facts. The first example assumes that we are a retailer, and we have a fact table with the following columns:
The purpose of this table is to record the sales amount for each product in each store on a daily basis. Sales_Amount is the fact. In this case, Sales_Amount is an additive fact, because you can sum up this fact along any of the three dimensions present in the fact table -- date, store, and product. For example, the sum of Sales_Amount for all 7 days in a week represents the total sales amount for that week.
Say we are a bank with the following fact table:
The purpose of this table is to record the current balance for each account at the end of each day, as well as the profit margin for each account for each day. Current_Balance and Profit_Margin are the facts. Current_Balance is a semi-additive fact, as it makes sense to add them up for all accounts (what's the total current balance for all accounts in the bank?), but it does not make sense to add them up through time (adding up all current balances for a given account for each day of the month does not give us any useful information). Profit_Margin is a non-additive fact, for it does not make sense to add them up for the account level or the day level.
Based on the above classifications, there are two types of fact tables: