Triggered by technological evolution and changes in the markets, digital transformation has affected businesses and brought increasing attention to the core value of data. As a consequence, the ability to use data is becoming more important, starting with topics such as the data model and data standardization. Indeed, the transformation is not just about online and digitizing processes, but it is revolutionizing the way companies use data within the value chain: from designing new products or services to supporting customer relationships. This is a change that deeply invests the corporate culture, bringing IT and information to the center of every decision. That’s because available technology solutions provide the ability to exploit the full potential of data, exchanging information both within the company and externally with suppliers, partners, and customers.
Taking data‑driven decisions and the ability to seize business opportunities in a timely manner require data to be well‑organized, complete, and available. Thus, it is crucial to avoid any slowdown related to incomplete and hard‑to‑retrieve information. These goals can only be achieved with effective data models that reflect and support business strategies.
What is a Data Model?
The data model is the conceptual and visual representation of how data is stored, connected, and organized together. To be effective, the data model should be defined according to the specific business needs. This means that the model should be identified with a clear understanding of how to use each data item later. The choice of how to store data should be based on its ultimate goal. Since needs may change over time, the data model should be able to evolve at the same pace as business objectives. In this regard, it is essential to have close collaboration between development teams and business figures who understand data and its strategic value.
Choices concerning the data model on the one hand influence available technological solutions and on the other depend on them. In particular, choosing a database type, relational or document‑oriented, and subsequently identifying and adopting a particular tool, can be critical to the success of the company.
Why you need a Data Model and what benefits it brings
The direct relationship that binds applications with data explains why, in an ideal project, it is recommended to define the data model before start developing an application software. If this is not possible, for existing applications, the design of a data model aligned with the most up‑to‑date business needs can help to identify and correct some existing critical issues. For example, defining in detail the business entities, (i.e. the entities involved in business activities) can provide a deeper understanding of the target market and its business. Data standardization - among similar data within different business entities - can help speed up both the collection of data distributed across business systems and its sharing within and outside the enterprise.
Defining effective data models is imperative and preparatory to getting to single views, i.e. unique views that aggregate and make available all information about each business entity. Single views provide a holistic view of business entities that facilitates understanding of market trends and fosters greater business agility - the ability to seize business opportunities as they arise. Data model management also enables the use of fast data (i.e. real time data), speeds up software development time, and improves user experience.
How to create your Data Model
The process of creating a data model that is functional to business strategies involves teams sharing both technical and business expertise. The implementation consists of three basic steps involving conceptual, logical, and physical aspects.
- Identify the entities and the relationships that connect them.
- Determine what data is needed and the type of relationship between entities.
- Create the database schema that defines data formats.
The ultimate goal of a data model is to foster collecting and sharing the information needed to make timely strategic business decisions - an increasingly essential condition for putting digital transformation into practice.
Today, there are many tools that can support the processes of creating data models and the changes that are needed over time to keep them aligned with the ever‑changing needs of the business. Among them, Mia‑Platform Fast Data supports you in getting the most out of your Data Model, by collecting data from all business systems, creating the specific single views for each need, and sharing them in near real‑time.
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