There are multiple types of data models, and some companies choose to NOT data model purchased software applications. I view this a bit differently. I think that any purchased application is part of our enterprise, thus it is part of our enterprise data model (or that concept is part of the enterprise!). An enterprise data model is very conceptual in nature, and it relates to how a company does business.
Most enterprise data models are split up by subject areas. For example, Customer, Product, Facilities and Sales would each have their own model. The relationships between those subject areas are shown in a diagram, so that it is easy to see and understand.
Upkeep of this data model is so very important for any company. Each and every project needs to address updates or changes to the concepts represented in the enterprise data model. Sometimes the update is as easy as adding to a few definitions. Other times, you may need to add a new entity or subject area. You need to consider adding just enough to make sense to the enterprise.
I have had the privilege of working with a company that had the BEST enterprise data model that I have ever seen. The model included:
- Subject area that relate to how they do business.
- In each subject area, there are entities with business definitions.
- The entities have a representative amount of attributes that relate to how they do business with definitions.
If you do not have an enterprise data model, consider starting one with your next project, then enhancing it as time permits.