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single source of truth (SSOT)

Single source of truth (SSOT) is a concept that an organization can apply as part of its information architecture to ensure that everyone in the organization uses the same data when making business decisions. The aim of adopting a SSOT is to provide employees with a federated view of data, which may also be referred to as a single version of the truth or golden record.

The continued existence of data silos at many companies hampers efforts to provide a single point of data-based truth throughout an organization. When data is siloed and various departments in a company use different data, it can result in costly errors, which can hurt profits.

When an organization authorizes a SSOT, data elements are stored once in a system of record (SOR) which is updated and synchronized with data federation software. Such software aggregates data from disparate sources in a virtual database so it can be used for business intelligence (BI) or other analysis. The virtual database created by data federation software doesn't contain the data itself. Instead, it contains meta data that describes the actual data, including its location. Other instances of the data refer back to the main SSOT location so that updates to the data in the primary location are spread to the entire system and the likelihood of duplicate values is eliminated.

This was last updated in April 2017

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