In the information age, data is power. It's a truth that many businesses have come to accept and even use as their competitive advantage. The more data you have, the better insights you can glean from it - but what if your company doesn't have a plan for managing all this data? In today's blog post we'll take a look at what a data model is and why it matters so much to consider one when planning for technology audits or developing new systems.
What is a data model?
A data model organizes data elements and standardizes how the data elements relate to one another. This includes an understanding about how those concepts relate to one another as well as what attributes they have and their respective rules or constraints. When you consider all the data in your company - from customer records, financial transactions, inventory lists, etc., there needs to be some sort of internal process that will allow you to manage all this data. The more complex the business, the greater your need for a data model - but even if you're just starting out small or are a company with less than 100 employees, there's still value in having one defined and agreed upon by key stakeholders.
A data model is crucial because it will allow you to get a handle on all the data in your organization, and more importantly it provides insight into how those data elements relate to one another. This helps developers design an internal system with proper structure and boundaries so there's no overlap between the data - which can cause problems down the road when new systems are implemented. Data models also help establish rules around important attributes like record identifiers (IDs), product codes, customer names/addresses/etc., employee records, etc.
From a sales perspective, you use a data model so:
- Sales representatives can manage their deal pipelines and open opportunities. For example, making sure that deals are categorized properly and utilizing structured data so the information is consistent and measurable.
- Sales leadership can make better, informed decisions. With a proper data model in place, you segment your deal pipeline, customers, and prospective database to understand trends.
- Sales representatives and leadership can track performance and progress.
- You can solve problems more quickly, with fewer resources.
From a marketing perspective, you use a data model so:
- Your marketing department can segment your database which allows you to incorporate more personalization. This gives you a more customized message to your current or potential customer instead of having generic messaging or information being sent to them that isn't relevant.
- Your campaigns are more measurable and it is easier to track performance.
Questions to ask yourself as you build a data model:
- What are my goals and what do I want to accomplish?
- What are my current processes or how do I create a process that is consistent and repeatable?
- Which technology is being used that will be the main place for data to be stored and managed - or what we like to call your "source of truth"?
A data model is the foundation of all sales and marketing efforts
Once a data model has been established, you'll find that it becomes much easier to achieve your goals and manage your outcomes. Whether you're building a brand new application from scratch or simply looking for ways to improve current technology implementations, you should make sure your company has an agreed upon data model moving forward. This will allow you to have a clear plan and process in place that can be maintained over time. And if you aren't sure where to start, feel free to reach out for help. We're happy to help you define your data model and get the ball rolling on your database modeling process and the technologies you are utilizing to leverage a data model.