Systems of Record

Systems Analysis and Design Tutorial

A system of record is a type of application system that maintains data and is considered by the business to be the official source of information in the organization.  For example, a Human Resources application system would normally be the "system of record" for all employee data.  When an employee is hired or fired, the data in the HR system constitutes the official record of employment.

Many other systems in the business, however, also require information about employees.  An application system that tracks product sales, for example, might require names and IDs of employees for tracking track product sales.  This HR data could be accessed in three different ways:

  1. The sales staff data could be maintained redundantly in the Product Sales application
  2. The Product Sales application could read the employee data from the HR database
  3. The employee data could be copied from the HR database into the Product Sales database
Systems of Record

Regardless of the approach adopted, the HR database must remain the system of record for employee data, including data about the sales staff. It is not normally a good idea to maintain the same data in multiple databases.  This practice inevitably results in inconsistent data as time passes.

Most operational systems provide a “system of record” role for some corporate data.  They also make use of data that is maintained in other systems of record.

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