What is a Common Data Model?

Engine B - November 2nd, 2020

What is a Common Data Model?

Many of today’s organisations have numerous applications and systems that all perform different functions. From Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications, and accounting systems – typically these systems exist in silos. In addition to siloed systems, organisations usually have spreadsheets, emails and other documents. These systems and files can add up to hundreds per organisation. So, how do we combine all this data? How do we get a single version of the truth? The answer is a Common Data Model (CDM).

Why use a CDM?

Imagine that you have three Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems – each of the ERPs have different versions. If you use a CDM, you can build your data in a standardised format (using the Common Data Model standard entities, attributes, and relationships) and then each ERP system could use the same data. What if you need to extract data from a fourth ERP system? Your data will be ready in the Common Data Model, so your efforts can be concentrated on analysing and interrogating the data rather than dealing with data dilemmas.

A CDM simplifies data complexity

In essence, a CDM simplifies data complexity by providing a shared data language for business and analytical applications to use. The CDM is a metadata system, which makes it possible for data and its meaning to be shared across applications and business processes.

What are industry-specific data models?

Typically, a CDM enables horizontal consistency for customers’ business data, making it easier for them to create value from that data. However, many customers and partners now want solutions and platforms that are tailored to their industry.

Audit Common Data model

Engine B has been working closely with Microsoft, thirteen audit firms, educational institutions, Institute of Charted Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and AICPA to create an Audit CDM.

Driven by regulatory changes, sporadic use of common data standards (AICPA), repetitive and clunky data extraction processes and a lack of competition, our Audit Common Data Model resolves these challenges and more.

Audit Common Data Model for structured and unstructured data

Part of Microsoft’s open-source data model, our Audit CDM works by providing a common data access platform that can be installed in any client environment. It’s unique in that is enables the interrogation and analysis of both structured (ERP systems) and unstructured (Invoice PDFs, emails etc.) data. As audit firms roll out the Audit CDM, competing firms and even non-audit services organisations can leverage the Audit CDM in the same client site.  Sharing open data standards opens up the industry and creates a level playing field for all audit firms, no matter their size.

Audit Knowledge Graphs

To further transform the audit profession, Engine B has also developed unique Knowledge Graphs that can sit on top of the Audit CDM to perform visual, context-driven data analysis. This powerful duo creates a groundbreaking intellectual property for the audit industry.

If you would like to find out more about our Audit Common Data Model and Knowledge Graphs, watch our video, which provides an overview of how these two ground-breaking technologies work together to transform professional services processes.