The notion of the system of record has long been one of the cornerstones of the data warehouse environment. The system of record is the place where there is a definitive value for some unit of data. It is intuitive and dates back to the days of transaction processing systems. The system of record for the banking environment states that you have your balance for your account in exactly one place. If you have no system of record for your bank account or if you have multiple systems of record for the same account, something is fundamentally wrong. The same concept applies to many other systems, such as insurance policies. The insurance company has one and only one place where there is a system of record for your insurance policy. The company that sends you catalogs in the mail has (or ought to have!) only one place where you are known as a customer, and so forth.

Where there is a single system of record, there is integrity of data. Where there is no system of record, there is no integrity of data. For this simple reason, the system of record is one of the most basic concepts of the information systems environment.

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