"In many ways, up-front data design with NoSQL databases can actually be more
important than it is with traditional relational databases [...] Beyond the
performance topic, NoSQL databases with flexible schema capabilities require
more discipline in aligning to a common information model."
Ryan Smith, Information Architect at Nike
Information drives businesses who make decisions based on data. Data is a corporate asset. Data modeling is critical to understanding data, its interrelationships, and its rules. Yet, some people don‘t understand the value that data modeling provides. Some perceive it as just documentation, as a bottleneck to Agile development, or even as too expensive to be worth it.
And the buzz around the terms NoSQL, schemaless, and non-relational, has further promoted the illusion of a silver bullet. But is it realistic to think that one can actually design an application with no structure, no schema, and no relationships? Isn’t it ironic also that schema design is one of NoSQL’s toughest challenges, triggering countless how-to videos, blogs, and books?
A data model is not just documentation, because it can be forward-engineered into a physical database. Not only is data modeling not a bottleneck to application development, it has demonstrated time and again that it accelerates development, significantly reduces maintenance, increases application quality, and lowers execution risks across the enterprise. Experience has shown that relying on the intuition of software developers is not a repeatable process or one insuring first-time-right success.