A data model is an abstract model designed to describe how to use effectively and represent company data. However, we typically use the term data model in 2 different ways:

  • The first way talks about the data model theory that focuses on the formal descriptions of how to use and structure data.
  • The second way talks about an example of a data model or how to apply a particular data modeling theory to create a data model instance for a particular application.

What is Data Modeling?

Data modeling refers to the process through which data is organized and structured. Structuring the data model is typically implemented into what we refer to as a database management system. In addition to the definition and organization of data, data modeling may also impose limitations or constraints on the data placed within the structure.

The main purpose of any information system is the management of vast amounts of both structured and unstructured data. A data model will describe structured data for storage in a data management system. Unstructured data not typically described by a data model may include company documents, emails, pictures, word processing, and digital video and audio files. Structured data, on the other hand, is what the company requires creating a traditional data model.

Features of a Data Model

Early stages of most software development projects will emphasize the design of a conceptual data model that the business can detail into a logical data model. During later phases, the business may translate the model into a physical data model. Data models are therefore representations of different entity classes that the company wants to own information about. These typically contain the specifics of this information, as well as the relationship among the varying entities and attributes.

The entities or types of things that the data model represents could be tangible entities although models with very concrete entity classes will typically change with time. A data model may feature an entity class labeled “Persons” which represents all the people who interact with the company. This is a more appropriate abstract entity than those marked “Boss” or “Salesman” which typically specifies the special role played by particular people.

Functions of a Data Model

As a product of the database design process, the aim of the data model is identifying and organizing the required business data in a logical and physical way. In short, the data model outlines what information the company database should contain, how the company should use the information, as well as how the database items relate to each other. For instance, a data model may specify that the business represent customers by their name and credit card number, while describing a product as a product price and code, and that the relation between the customer and product is one-to-many.

Data modeling is a very powerful expression of a company’s business requirements, which serves as a guide used by technical and functional business analysts in designing and implementing a database. This process enhances the means of maintaining applications, as future systems can reuse parts of an existing data model to cut development costs.