Data Sources – Single Source of Truth

by Jason Williams, Delivery Lead – Altis Canberra

Organisations aim to create insights in an efficient way, however, most face problems with data coming from disparate sources or from inadequate access to data.

For best results, we need to aim to ensure that all users have access to the same data, to make accurate and informed decisions. To do this we must ensure data is consolidated in a unified source. This unified source is the single source of truth.

What this does is it guarantees that every user can access the relevant data required, from a central location.

The move to data-driven decision making has placed huge importance on gathering and analysing data. A problem exists when data is located in disparate source systems as it becomes difficult to decide which data should take priority and be trusted. This is where a single source of truth can help. Instead of reviewing multiple data sources before making a decision, users can all use the same integrated data.

Benefits

There are many benefits to infrastructure a single source of truth can provide, some of which include;

    • Reduced time in sorting through data for accurate information
    • Data readily available for decision-making
    • Duplicate information removed
    • Easily allowing for iterative enhancements

Overall the main benefits are confidence in the data being used, and faster time between insights and decision-making.

Moving to a single source of truth isn’t as easy as it sounds. It can be difficult to decide which data source is best to use.

Collecting all of the data can also be difficult. Data is regularly stored in different locations, often managed by different business areas. It can be quite difficult to create a single source of truth from various locations of siloed data.

After collecting your data you still need to be able to interpret and understand what the data is showing you. When you’re able to utilise a single source of truth that gathers data from various sources into one, it’s possible to create actual insights and make informed decisions.

How to implement this in your organisation?

To begin utilising a single source of truth, an organisation must bring together data from disparate systems into one repository. Data integration software can assist by automating the data collection process and placing the integrated data into a central storage location.

From here it’s then possible to utilise a business intelligence (BI) tool to display information for decision-making and reporting.

There are a few simple steps you can follow if looking to improve your decision-making through utilising a single source of truth, which include;

    1. Identify data locations – locate all your source systems and determine how frequent the data is required and the volume of the data. The data integration software will need to support these.
    2. Data integration software – choose a tool that fits your requirements but is also scalable and flexible. The tool needs to connect to your various source systems using built-in connectors and support workflow automation. Data integration is rarely a one-off process.
    3. Cleanse your data – remove duplications and inaccurate information. This is very important as it ensures the quality of your data and reliability. Depending on your data integration tool choice, it may come with a built-in data quality module or cleansing transformations that can remove errors before loading in the data.
    4. Create a single source of truth – create a source that acts as your master data for your organisation. It should be available for all your users and a single reference point.

Following these simple processes can allow your organisation to implement a single source of truth, and give users confidence that decisions are being made on consistent, reliable and accurate data.

The workload on ICT areas can also be reduced as they are not required to constantly source data from disparate systems they don’t understand, to try to allow for business decisions and insights.

Choosing an appropriate and adaptable data integration tool offers flexibility to change the solution based on demands and allow for future additions within your organisation.

Feel free to get in contact with us if you would like to find out more.

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