Data Modeling for Mere Mortals, Part 1: What is Data Modeling? | by Nikola Ilic | Aug, 2023

Data modeling can sometimes seem intimidating (all those complicated diagrams!), but it doesn’t have to be

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash

In recent years, I’ve done dozens of trainings on various data platform topics, for all kinds of audiences. When teaching various data platform concepts and techniques, I find one of the concepts particularly intimidating for many business analysts, especially those who are just starting their journey. And that is the concept of data modeling.

Maybe because you feel lost when you see all these diagrams that look so complex and complicated…

But, data modeling is not about diagrams. It’s about creating trust, a shared understanding between the business and data professionals, with the final goal of providing increased business value with data.

If we agree that data modeling is about creating trust, I believe we can also agree that trust can’t be easily built — a certain amount of time and effort should be taken into consideration. And, time and effort are not something that you take for granted — it’s something that you need to INVEST in!

So, we can rightly assume that data modeling is a kind of investment. An investment that should bring more stability and adaptability to your business.

Think of it like investing in building a house.

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Obviously, you can choose to go the quick and easy way by simply putting building blocks directly on the ground, and it can possibly work just fine for some time, until some new circumstances occur — think about an earthquake or thunderstorm, for example. And, your house will probably be damaged. But, it’s not only the house that’s going to be damaged — your trust will also be damaged: people who live with you, your neighbors, friends will realize that you didn’t invest the proper amount of time and effort in advance to prevent such a bad scenario.

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