What is a Single Source of Truth, and Why Do We Need It?

July 8, 2021 / by Frederid Palacios

Today, there are endless options for companies to source and manage their data. However, with so many contradicting variables, many companies struggle with organizing multiple data sources, low data accuracy, or insufficient data accessibility. Most organizations have their company's information spread thin across multiple sources and databases, which results in teams having conflicting versions of the same information. This can lead to significant confusion resulting in errors. Inaccurate data can result in tension between team members, delayed projects, and a lot of wasted time and money.

Modern wireless technology and social media illustration

Only 34% of decision-makers report that they feel confident in the accuracy of their information – which means that 76% do not feel confident. If you don't have confidence in the accuracy of your data, how can you expect your customers to? A significant cause for this inaccuracy is that companies are using too many information channels. Instead of investing time in the right organization, you are wasting time on information search and verification. Fortunately, there is a solution. A concept called Single Source of Truth (SSOT) can significantly improve the accuracy of your data by consolidating contradicting information channels into just one. We will discuss what SSOT is and why your organization needs to adopt it.


What is an SSOT?

Single Source of Truth is a concept used to ensure that all members of an organization base business decisions on the same data. It is a platform where all company information and knowledge are stored and managed centrally, avoiding overlaps or duplications. This platform may include processes, decisions, and the operations of various departments. Essentially, an SSOT provides employees, employers, and stakeholders with a clear and consistent picture of the information they possess. This, in turn, simplifies the decision-making process. SSOT also ensures that the data it contains is the most recent and accurate, ensuring that reports are up-to-date so that information is reliable.

Consider this example. Imagine that you have three teams working independently but within the same overarching project. Each week you are updated by your teams; they are on track and progressively moving towards the project's final milestone. But, in the end, the product cannot be delivered as expected because there are inconsistencies. It turns out that each team worked with a different goal in mind, supported by entirely different information from one another. For example, team 1 relied on information provided in emails, Team 2 followed client requirements without sharing them, and Team 3 followed the notes taken during meetings. Because each team based their work on different data sources, their work is not cohesive to one another and does not complete the project. If they had been using an SSOT, this problem could have been avoided.

Learn More About Cloud Migration and Management

Why Do You Need an SSOT?

SSOT is critical for the times that an employee needs only one right answer. For your employees to produce accurate and quality results, they must be provided with one source that stores the information they need that is verified to be correct. While on paper, it may seem beneficial to have dozens of tools in use and numerous apps to optimize your job, but this can be counterproductive. If all of these tools and applications are not integrated, they work against each other – which actually makes your job harder rather than easier. For your projects to succeed, you need to eliminate the discussion of which numbers, sources, and statistics you should rely on. Instead – there should only be one answer.

SSOT offers countless benefits beyond simplifying the data mining process:

  • Decision-makers are provided with accurate data
  • Reduce time spent identifying the source with the correct and up-to-date data
  • Eliminate data duplicates and overlaps
  • Increase clarity, transparency, and productivity
  • Reduce the number of tools and communication channels, thus reducing cost
  • Reduce the chance of data-related errors

These are significant benefits for any organization and will greatly simplify any project. With an SSOT, you will provide more accurate results at less labor to your organization. Less time will be spent finding and verifying information, and it will be apparent to team members which information is to be used. With the data mining aspect of a project simplified, projects can be completed more accurately and quicker – satisfying both employees and customers.


How to Implement an SSOT?

Now that you're hooked on the idea of adopting SSOT into your organization, you need to implement it. For organizations, the best way to establish an SSOT is to connect and organize all company information into one centralized and integrated software. If you are already using centralized task and project management tools, this will be simple. The project management tool that you are already utilizing has everything to become an SSOT for your organization.

It is important to note that an SSOT should be agreed upon and explicitly declared. This will ensure that everyone knows where the right information is stored, in addition to when and how often it should be updated. This will clarify any confusion in the initial implementation process and let employees know that they are free to start utilizing the SSOT.

With this in mind, it is time to start pairing down some of your tools. The key of SSOT is not to use as few project management tools as possible but only use the important ones that integrate with one another and support one single source. Here are some ways that project management tools used as an SSOT can help your team deliver better results:


  • Reduced number of meetings and emails. With an SSOT, there is a reduced need for meetings and emails. Once your team has a central place to store important information, many meetings can be transformed into chat messaged or short comments in task cards. Because everyone is accessing the same information, there is less need to discuss it. Not only will this save your team members valuable time, but it can also decrease the number of delayed projects due to miscommunications. For this reason, choosing a task management tool with chat functionality is essential.
  • Greater team accountability. Task management tools provide a higher level of transparency, which leads to increased employee accountability. Past projects are stored, and future projects are planned in the same place, ensuring that all team members have a holistic view of the project and are on the same page. Each team member can track the team’s progress, ensuring that their tasks are melding together without overlap. Features such as comments, progress reports, and priority flags also help team members to communicate without actually communicating. This makes collaborating seamless and convenient.
  • One task, many details. With a task management tool, you will no longer need to send long emails with task descriptions and countless attachments. Instead, all task-related information is stored in one location and kept together. You can create a task and add subtasks, attach documents, set due dates, assign team members to tasks, add tags, and more. This allows you to be as specific as possible for a task without overwhelming team members with too much information in an email or meeting. Instead, whenever they need task information, they can go right to the source. 

An SSOT puts all vital information in one centralized location. This exponentially increases the accuracy of your data, saving your team members time and frustration. With one place for everything, data is easy to access quickly, and team leaders can be as detailed as possible without overwhelming their team with countless meetings and emails. With an SSOT, information is convenient, accurate, and up-to-date, ensuring that the results you deliver are as well.

contact us

Tags: Project Management

Frederid Palacios

Written by Frederid Palacios

Fred Palacios is a seasoned software architect with more than 20 years of experience participating in the entire software development cycle across a host of different industries--from automotive and services to petroleum, financial, and supply chain. In that time, his experience working closely with high-level stakeholders has provided him with a strategic vision for developing the right solutions to flexibly meet critical business needs. As CTO of Intertec, he's continuing to focus on the creation of business-critical applications for large enterprise projects, particularly those that handle high concurrency and large datasets. He is passionate about using technology as a tool to solve real-world problems and also mentoring technical teams to achieve their maximum potential and deliver quality software.

Leave A Comment