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Single Source of Truth (SSOT)

Updated: Oct 12, 2023

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Do your decision-makers have access to the business intelligence they need for effective risk management, strategic sourcing, and long-term financial planning?

The answer to this question depends on the specific business intelligence needs of the decision-makers in question. However, in general, if a company's decision-makers have access to the information they need to manage risks effectively, source strategically, and plan for long-term financial success. The company is likely doing well in terms of business intelligence.

In reality, many small businesses struggle to deal with large amounts of data.

Data is often spread across several software systems and people, leading to inconsistency, quality, accuracy and completeness issues. This can be a problem when businesses expand or change their product mix.

However, there are various ways that small companies can overcome this challenge.

One way is to develop in-house expertise by hiring analysts or using in-house resources to develop the necessary skillsets. Another option is to outsource data analysis to specialist firms. This can be expensive but also more effective as these firms will have the required tools and expertise. This is especially true in the manufacturing sector, where IoT sensors and supply chain data signals can quickly become overwhelming information streams.

Data scientists can design algorithms that allow companies to analyse data at a granular level. Companies that rely on data must ensure that their employees use the same language when referring to data. The increasing number of data silos makes it more difficult to avoid getting lost in translation traversing the "Big Data" lakes.

What is data science, you might ask?

Data science is the process of understanding large quantities of data and turning it into insights that help businesses make better decisions. To do this, many companies turn to analytics apps, intelligent automation and a single source of truth to do the heavy lifting by parsing vast amounts of data and providing users with detailed, accurate and up-to-date reports, graphs and other insights.

To create a successful organisation, having a single source of truth is essential.

So let's look a bit deeper into what is a single source of truth and how it can help your organisation.

What is A Single Source of Truth (SSOT)?

A single source of truth, or SSOT, is a concept in computer science, information science, and philosophy. It is a system or database that multiple users can access and is the source of the authoritative truth for its associated domain. In computing, a single source of truth typically refers to the notion that all information a system uses must come from a single source, such as the system's main memory or a storage area. The advantage of using such a system is that it allows users to trust that all information they access is accurate.

The term was first coined in 1961 by Dr C. F. Peterson and Dr Ivar Jacobson in their paper "On Consensus Computing". They proposed that there should be one central computer where all participants could access the same data, thus guaranteeing everyone's view accurately reflects reality. This idea has since been widely adopted in many fields, including software development, scientific research, and business operations.

Building a Single Source of Truth

Many organisations are looking for ways to build a single source of truth for their business. The data that might be collected and stored in the system will include information about customers, suppliers, employees, inventory, marketing campaigns, etc.

As we saw above, a single source of truth (SSOT) is a database or system that contains accurate, up-to-date information that all departments and employees share within an organisation. This ensures that everyone works with the same data set, making making decisions and tracking progress easier.

In today's digital world, many types of SSOTs are available on the market. The most common way is to use a database. Another way is to use a data warehouse. And yet another way is to use a data lake. These include cloud-based, traditional, and hybrid solutions that combine cloud-based and on-premises components.

Whichever type of SSOT you choose, make sure that you select one suitable for your specific needs and requirements. Your Single Source of Truth, when combined with technologies, including intelligent automation, IoT, and RPA, can produce reliable and uniform information.

Why is an SSOT critical?

There are many benefits to having a single source of truth, including:

  • Improved decision making, as everyone has access to the same accurate data.

  • Reduced duplication of effort, as departments do not need to maintain their own separate databases.

  • Reduced costs, as there is only one database to maintain and update.

  • Improved customer service, as employees can easily access customer information from any department

  • Increases efficiency and accuracy in data management.

  • Helps businesses avoid potential disasters by tracking critical information such as customer identities and contact details.

  • Reduced errors as the date is data used is accurate and up-to-date.

  • Improves communication and makes it easier for employees to find information.

As we can deduce from the above list, an SSOT (Single Source of Truth) is critical because it helps organisations avoid multiple conflicting versions of the same data, which can lead to confusion and wasted time and resources when making decisions based on data that is not accurate.

Having an SSOT can help ensure everyone is working with the same, up-to-date information. This is especially helpful in large organisations where there are many people and departments working on different aspects of the same project. Having a single source of truth can help reduce confusion and mistakes and make it easier for people to collaborate effectively.

And the opposite is true, when there is no single source of truth, it can lead to problems. Different people may interpret the same information differently, creating confusion. Additionally, if one person is removed from the equation (for example, if they are not present to witness an event), their opinion may not be included in the discussion, leading to inaccuracies and a loss of credibility.

Finally, making decisions without a single source of truth is difficult, especially as the data accuracy is not verifiable.

A single source of truth is needed to ensure that all participants are on the same page and understand the game's rules. Without a single source of truth, it becomes easy for disagreements and chaos to ensue. This can lead to losing trust among collaborators and participants, ultimately reducing productivity.


To summarise, a single source of truth is a type of data repository where all the information about a particular topic is collected and processed as a single entity.

The key benefits of using a single source of truth are trust, consistency, communication, and eliminating duplicate effort.

Trust is built among multiple parties because they all rely on the same data. The duplicate effort is eliminated because everyone can access the same source of truth and make collective decisions based on that information. Consistency across systems is promoted because every system uses the same source of truth to process data. Communication between parties becomes more accessible because everyone knows what information is relevant and can be relied on to provide accurate results.

As businesses increasingly adopt automation technologies, the need for one truth source will become more apparent. With the help of artificial intelligence, IoT and machine learning, companies can automate more complex tasks and processes, making their operations more efficient and effective.

Are you ready for the age of intelligent business automation?


Nassia Skoulikariti

Founder/CEO Apiro Data Ltd

Get in touch, and let’s build something great together!

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