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Your data format needs

Although every data format is capable of representing any type of data, not all formats are well suited to information exchange.

Here are some scenarios that show which characteristics are important, using our detailed format comparison guide.

Disclaimer

This is a very general overview. It will help you get started, but you should rely on your internal architects to help identify what your business and technical needs are.

Check the details

We have written a detailed format comparison guide.

It has a very thorough comparison of common data formats.

Be sure that the format you choose suits the types of needs you have.

What we’re comparing

What is the data about: Documents vs Data

Data represents the current state of a thing or system

Documents describe a process

How is the data created: Interactive vs Automated

Automated is generated without human input

Interactive is more ‘crafted’ than automatically extracted

Automated Data

What is it: Data that is automatically extracted without human input and represents the current state of a thing or system.

For example: A transaction history. Currently held assets. Current employees.

Overview: Most contemporary digital exchange fits within this category. Data can be shared as often as required, usually when an event happens, like making a payment, hiring an employee, starting a business.

Desired format characteristics:

Interactive Data

What is it: Data that is more ‘crafted’ then automatically extracted and represents the current state of a thing or system.

For example: An extract of a larger data set.

Overview: When a human navigates through large amounts of existing data, filtering and selecting the relevant parts

Desired format characteristics:

Automated Document

What is it: A document that is automatically extracted without human input and describes a process.

For example: A compliance report. A refund claim. Health checks and status reports.

Overview: Generating an automated document is generally a simple process of populating a pre-existing template:

Desired format characteristics:

Interactive Document

What is it: A document that is more ‘crafted’ then automatically extracted and describes a process.

For example: A profit and loss sheet. Statement of financial position. An application for a grant.

Overview: Creating an interactive document is similar to using typing up a document:

Desired format characteristics:

Alignment to technology

Here are our thoughts on which technologies are well suited to the scenarios. Your needs may vary, so consider your circumstances and the needs of your users before making any decisions.

  Automated Interactive
Data Automated Data :
1. JSON
2. XML
Interactive Data :
1. CSV
Document Automated Document :
1. XML
2. JSON
Interactive Document :
1. XBRL
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