What Is Data Modeling And How You Can Benefit From It

23rd August 2021

No matter what kind of company you have or you work for, you surely need to collect data. Those data can be critical when it comes to having thorough business insight and making important decisions for your business. But, to be able to do so you need to have an efficient system to store your data. One of the ways to do so is to use data modeling. To learn more about this process and all the benefits it can provide you with, read through the rest of this article. 

What is data modeling?

Before getting into all the great benefits you can enjoy from data modeling, let’s go through what it represents. Data modeling is a very useful step that you can take before you code your database. It is a process in which you document a software system design in an easy-to-understand diagram. Even though there are different data modeling techniques, all of them allow you to make any necessary changes before any of your developers begin working. After you have completed this step effectively, it can save you lots of money and time because you will be able to identify errors before they occur. 

 

The primary goals of data modeling are to ensure that all of your data is accurately represented and to help you define the conceptual, physical, and logical levels of your database. Moreover, this process allows you to define the primary, as well as foreign keys, relational tables, and stored procedures. In the end, your developers will have a clear picture of the base data when they are creating the actual database. 

Types of data models

Now that you have an overview of data modeling and its importance, let’s go through the different types of data models you can use. 

Logical data model

The logical data model is the model that includes the complete information about entities as well as the relationships between them that occur in the database. It describes the data in as much detail as possible, without regard for the database management system technology or physical implementation that is utilized to store your data. 

Conceptual data model

This data model represents a structured business view of all the data that your business requires to track performance measures, support its processes as well as record business events. This model is not focused on the physical characteristics of a business or its processing flow, but on identifying the data that the business uses. The three basic elements of the conceptual data model are an entity, an attribute, and a relationship. Stakeholders often use this model as a launching point for discussion. 

Physical data model

The physical data model is what represents how your database system will be further implemented. Using this model, you will describe individual tables, the component columns, as well as the details of relationships and keys. While doing this, you also need to take into consideration performance, resource allocations, and access. With this kind of approach, you will be able to reach the highest level of granularity before actual deployment.

Hierarchical data model

When it comes to the hierarchical data model, the data is typically organized in a tree-like structure. If you use this model, you need to store data as separate records and then connect them through links. These links are defined in a parent-child structure. 

Entity-relationship data model

The entity-relationship model is a model that uses diagrams in order to depict each element in the database and make everything easier to understand. Those elements can be pieces of data, an object, or anything else. It basically describes interrelated things that are of interest in a particular domain of knowledge. 

Relational data model

This type of model is basically an alternative to the hierarchical model. While the data is stored in the same ways as in the hierarchical model, the relationships between stored data are described, as well as its semantics. By using this model, your work will be much easier as you will have a clear overview of all of your data.

Network data model

The network model is another model that was inspired by the hierarchical model. It works in a similar way, but it also solves the problems that are typical for its predecessor. If you want to create more complex relations between your records, that is, connect your elements with multiple parent elements, use the network data model. 

Object-oriented data model

In this data model, all of your data and as well as relationships are contained in a single structure. This structure is called an object. Many people prefer this data model, as it represents real-world problems as objects that have different attributes and makes everything a lot easier to figure out. 

How can you benefit from data modeling?

As you could see, there are many different data models you can use depending on the needs of your business. By using these models, you can create a clear representation of your data, and then you can analyze it more efficiently. Your developers can use this data in many applications. 

 

Data modeling allows you to reduce your costs as well. Even though it consumes around 10 percent of a project budget, it can reduce up to 70 percent of the budget that is usually devoted to programming. This is because data modeling catches oversights and errors early, so you can fix them easily. This is, of course, a lot better than fixing the errors in the software once it has been developed, or even worse, released. And when you fix errors early on, your software can reach the market quicker, as your developers will not waste time. With all of these benefits, your applications will have fewer errors, and therefore its users will be more satisfied, giving you a competitive advantage on the market. 

Data modeling represents a very useful tool that can allow you to organize your data more efficiently. Therefore, you will be able to predict and fix all errors early on. This will allow you to reduce your costs, and your developers will work more efficiently for sure. You can choose between the conceptual data model, the hierarchical data model, the logical data model, and so on depending on the needs of your company. Whichever one you choose to use, know that your company will be more efficient and profitable.