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10 steps for creating a single view of your business

Thor Olavsrud | April 7, 2017
Many data-driven enterprises are seeking a single view of their customer data, which is often siloed and fragmented. MongoDB has developed a 10-step methodology to help you cut through the data management complexity to create that single view.

"This is really one of the toughest stages to do," Keep says. "I have to tell it I'm one in the same person to get my points. That's where matching and merging comes in. You can use unique identifiers like credit card numbers: search on those fields to determine it's the same person. If you don't have that canonical data, or if there's a typo, you need to catch file attributes. You can cluster records together with similar attributes and start to make decisions about whether that's the same person or not. You can use tools to automate this process."

Machine learning could potentially play a role here.


Step 8: Architecture design

The architecture design step marks the beginning of the deployment phase of your single-view project.

"This is how we're physically going to deploy," Keep says. "It's about ensuring the underlying systems meet the performance goals and availability and security goals of the system."

In this step, you'll implement proper security protection for personally identifiable information (PII) and make certain the system is resilient to failures and outages.


Step 9: Modify the consuming systems

In this step, you'll look at the systems that consume the data and make sure the applications are pointing to the single view. In most cases, this means creating RESTful APIs from which applications can pull their data.


Step 10: Implement maintenance processes

No business systems are static. They're constantly changing as new processes are added or bugs are fixed. You might create the perfect data model, and it will remain so for five days until one of the source systems changes or breaks. That's why a flexible data model is key to getting your single-view project right. The data model needs to keep pace with rapidly changing source systems.

"Really, step 10 is a meta step," Keep says. "To maintain the single view, you need to go back through the previous nine steps and continuously update the data model. Step 10 is really a loop around the previous processes. You need change management processes in place so the single view remains current. The data steward is really the guardian of the source system. As new application functionality is rolled out, they need to be working with the single-view team to tell them about changes. It should be on-demand; the single-view team has to be ready to accommodate changes as they're made and the data stewards should be working closely with the development team."


Single view maturity model

Once you've gotten several single-view projects under your belt and feel comfortable with the methodology, you can become more ambitious with your vision.

"It's very tempting to try to boil the ocean, but it's more effective to go with a defined problem," Keep says.


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