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A canonical data model (CDM) is a type of data model that presents data entities and relationships in the simplest possible form.
It is generally used in system/database integration processes where data is exchanged between different systems, regardless of the technology used.
A canonical data model is also known as a common data model.
A canonical data model primarily enables an organization to create and distribute a common definition of its entire data unit. The design of a CDM requires identifying all entities, their attributes and the relationships between them.
The importance of a CDM is particularly evident in integration processes where data units are shared between different information system platforms. It utilizes a generalized data format to present/define data that makes it simple to share data among multiple applications.