What Is Data Modelling? Overview, Basic Concepts, Types, and Benefits of Data Modelling

Data is changing the way the world functions. It can be a study about disease cures, a company’s revenue strategy, efficient building construction, or those targeted ads on your social media page; it is all due to data. 

This data refers to information that is machine-readable as opposed to human-readable. For example, customer data is meaningless to a product team if they do not point to specific product purchases. Similarly, a marketing team will have no use of that same data if the IDs didn’t relate to specific price points during buying.

This is where Data Modeling comes in. It is the process that assigns relational rules to data. A Data Model un-complicates data into useful information that organizations can then use for decision-making and strategy. According to LinkedIn, it is the fastest-growing profession in the present job market.

Before getting started with what is data modelling, let’s understand what a Data Model in detail.

What is a Data Model?

Good data allows organizations to establish baselines, benchmarks, and goals to keep moving forward. In order for data to allow this measuring, it has to be organized through data description, data semantics, and consistency constraints of data. A Data Model is this abstract model that allows the further building of conceptual models and to set relationships between data items.

An organization may have a huge data repository; however, if there is no standard to ensure the basic accuracy and interpretability of that data, then it is of no use. A proper data model certifies actionable downstream results, knowledge of best practices regarding the data, and the best tools to access it. 

After understanding what is data modelling, let’s discuss its examples.

What is Data Modeling?

In the light of the above, it is the first critical step in defining the structure of available data. Data Modeling is the process of creating data models by which data associations and constraints are described and eventually coded to reuse. It conceptually represents data with diagrams, symbols, or text to visualize the interrelation. 

Data Modeling thus helps to increase consistency in naming, rules, semantics, and security. This, in turn, improves data analytics. The process of data modeling also enforces business rules, regulatory compliances, and government policies on the data. The emphasis is on the need for availability and organization of data, independent of the manner of its application.

After understanding what is data modelling, let’s discuss its examples

Data Modeling Examples

The best way to picture a data model is to think about a building plan of an architect. An architectural building plan assists in putting up all subsequent conceptual models, and so does a data model. 

These data modeling examples will clarify how data models and the process of data modeling highlights essential data and the way to arrange it. 

1. ER (Entity-Relationship) Model

This model is based on the notion of real-world entities and relationships among them. It creates an entity set, relationship set, general attributes, and constraints.

Here, an entity is a real-world object; for instance, an employee is an entity in an employee database. An attribute is a property with value, and entity sets share attributes of identical value. Finally, there is the relationship between entities.

2. Hierarchical Model

This data model arranges the data in the form of a tree with one root, to which other data is connected. The hierarchy begins with the root and extends like a tree. This model effectively explains several real-time relationships with a single one-to-many relationship between two different kinds of data.

For example, one supermarket can have different departments and many aisles. Thus, the ‘root’ node supermarket will have two ‘child’ nodes of (1) Pantry, (2) Packaged Food.

3. Network Model

This database model enables many-to-many relationships among the connected nodes. The data is arranged in a graph-like structure, and here ‘child’ nodes can have multiple ‘parent’ nodes. The parent nodes are known as owners, and the child nodes are called members.

4. Relational Model

This popular data model example arranges the data into tables. The tables have columns and rows, each cataloging an attribute present in the entity. It makes relationships between data points easy to identify. 

For example, e-commerce websites can process purchases and track inventory using the relational model.

5. Object-Oriented Database Model

This data model defines a database as an object collection, or recyclable software components, with related methods and features.

For instance, architectural and engineering real-time systems used in 3D modeling use this data modeling process. 

6. Object-Relational Model

This model is a combination of an object-oriented database model and a relational database model. Therefore, it blends the advanced functionalities of the object-oriented model with the ease of the relational data model.

The data modeling process helps organizations to become more data-driven. This starts with cleaning and modeling data. Let us look at how data modeling occurs at different levels.

These were the important types we discussed in what is data modelling. Next, let’s have a look at the techniques.

Types of Data Modeling

There are three main types of data models that organizations use. These are produced during the course of planning a project in analytics. They range from abstract to discrete specifications, involve contributions from a distinct subset of stakeholders, and serve different purposes. 

1. Conceptual Model

It is a visual representation of database concepts and the relationships between them identifying the high-level user view of data. Rather than the details of the database itself, it focuses on establishing entities, characteristics of an entity, and relationships between them. 

2. Logical Model

This model further defines the structure of the data entities and their relationships. Usually, a logical data model is used for a specific project since the purpose is to develop a technical map of rules and data structures.

3. Physical Model

This is a schema or framework defining how data is physically stored in a database. It is used for database-specific modeling where the columns include exact types and attributes. A physical model designs the internal schema. The purpose is the actual implementation of the database.

The logical vs. physical data model is characterized by the fact that the logical model describes the data to a great extent, but it does not take part in implementing the database, which a physical model does. In other words, the logical data model is the basis for developing the physical model, which gives an abstraction of the database and helps to generate the schema.

The conceptual data modeling examples can be found in employee management systems, simple order management, hotel reservation, etc. These examples show that this particular data model is used to communicate and define the business requirements of the database and to present concepts. It is not meant to be technical but simple.

These were the important types we discussed in what is data modelling. Next, let’s have a look at the techniques.

Data Modelling Techniques

There are three basic data modeling techniques. First, there is the Entity-Relationship Diagram or ERD technique for modeling and the design of relational or traditional databases. Second, the UML or Unified Modeling Language Class Diagrams is a standardized family of notations for modeling and design of information systems. Finally, the third is Data Dictionary modeling technique where tabular definition or representation of data assets is done.

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Data Modeling Tools

We have seen that data modeling is the process of applying certain techniques and methodologies to the data in order to convert it to a useful form. This is done through Data Modeling tools which assists in creating a database structure from diagrammatic drawings. It makes connecting data easier and forms a perfect data structure according to requirement.

Those are the important tools we discussed in what is data modelling.

Importance of Data Modeling

It is clear by now that data modeling is necessary foundational work. It allows data to be easily stored in a database and positively impacts data analytics. It is critical for data management, data governance, and data intelligence. 

  1. It means better documentation of data sources, higher quality and clearer scope of data use with faster performance and few errors.
  2. From the regulatory compliance view, data modeling ensures that an organization adheres to governmental laws and applicable industry regulations.
  3. It empowers employees to make data-driven decisions and strategies.
  4. It builds on business intelligence as it allows the identification of new opportunities by expanding data capability.

That was all about the article “What is Data Modelling”.

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Learn Data Modeling

In this write-up what is data modelling we discussed its types, concepts and benefits in detail.

Data modeling plays a vital role in storing the data according to requirement. As organizations deal with vast amounts of data, they have to be able to organize and make sense of the data and be able to communicate it to others. They have to model it for understanding or using it and hence, resort to data modeling. Here’s a clearly defined look into how to become a data modeler.

Harvard University labeled the profession the sexiest job of the 21st century. All aspiring data modelers, professionals, and graduates interested in building a career in data modeling should know that data modeling is a very technology-agnostic, dynamic, and timeless skill. 

Simplilearn’s Data Scientist Course is a good place to start upskilling in this regard. As a data modeling professional, the present career prospects are looking towards exponential growth. If you need help to nail the data modeling interview questions Simplilearn has you covered on that account too.

That was all about what is data modelling, if you have any doubts please drop a message in the comment section below.

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