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The secret to system success is the correct organization of its data. If the data are organized so as to minimize redundancy along the lines of the structure of the business, normal changes to that business will not require significant changes to a system based on those data. Achieving this resiliency in the face of constant business change has been the holy grail of the computer industry for many years. It can be done if requirements are defined in terms of a clear understanding of the inherent structure of the enterprise's data.

The secret to winding up with the right organization of data in a system is to understand how different players view it. The system design must not only accommodate all the different external (business owner's) views that are initially understood, but it must be structured so that it can accommodate future views as well. This is possible only if the underlying, fundamental structure of the data is understood. Hence it is necessary to translate from the external schemata to a conceptual schema, before using this conceptual schema as the basis for database design.

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