What is a data model?
An abstract model that organizes elements of data and standardizes how they relate to one another and to the properties of real-world entities. For instance, a data model may specify that the data element representing a car be composed of several other elements which, in turn, represent the color and size of the car and define its owner
The term data model can refer to two distinct but closely related concepts. Sometimes it refers to an abstract formalization of the objects and relationships found in an application domain: for example, the customers, products, and orders found in a manufacturing organization. At other times it refers to the set of concepts used in defining such formalizations: for example, concepts such as entities, attributes, relations, or tables. So, the “data model” of a banking application may be defined using the entity-relationship “data model”.
A data model organizes data elements and standardizes how the data elements relate to one another. Since data elements document real life people, places and things and the events between them, the data model represents reality. Data models are often used as an aid to communication between the business people defining the requirements for a computer system and the technical people defining the design in response to those requirements. They are used to show the data needed and created by business processes.
A data model refers to the logical inter-relationships and data flow between different data elements involved in the information world. It also documents the way data is stored and retrieved. Data models facilitate communication business and technical development by accurately representing the requirements of the information system and by designing the responses needed for those requirements. Data models help represent what data is required and what format is to be used for different business processes.
Why is having a common data model important?
- Ensures that all data objects required by the database are accurately represented. Omission of data will lead to creation of faulty reports and produce incorrect results.
- A data model helps design the database at the conceptual, physical and logical levels.
- Data Model structure helps to define the relational tables, primary and foreign keys and stored procedures.
- It provides a clear picture of the base data and can be used by database developers to create a physical database.
- It is also helpful to identify missing and redundant data.
- Though the initial creation of data model is labor and time consuming, in the long run, it makes your IT infrastructure upgrade and maintenance cheaper and faster.