How to use Data Point Modeling for Successful SBR Implementations

Standard Business Reporting (SBR) is the term commonly used to describe XBRL Taxonomy development projects that span multiple government agencies. Many things make these projects different and we touched on some of these in another blog “To SBR or not to SBR?”

In this blog, we’ll talk about what is different about an SBR taxonomy development project from a pure taxonomy development aspect, rather than the surrounding project management, governance, or political/cultural differences.

Standard Business Reporting (SBR) Taxonomy Development Project

The first thing to understand is that it is difficult. The results are more robust but they come at a cost. It is much easier to model things when you only have one model to consider. When there are multiple dissimilar models for the same data concepts, then things get trickier. The good news is that the insights you gain from analyzing multiple reporting models are invaluable in improving the reporting process. Instead of just “paving the goat path” you gain a much greater appreciation of the true meaning and intent of the data, simply because you have no other choice.

Data Point Modelling (DPM) Methodology in Taxonomy Development

We are often asked about “DPM” – the Data Point Modelling methodology – and whether it is appropriate in an SBR context. The difficulty is in defining what people mean when they refer to DPM. Ignacio Boixo has written an excellent paper on this subject (refer to ) and we consider that to be the best definition we’ve seen so far.

In essence, it is simply the name given to what everyone has always been doing in the early days of taxonomy development. In its simplest manifestation, it involves identifying all the data points on a set of forms (usually the cells in a series of tables) and then breaking them down into their semantic components. The semantic component that represents the base business concepts is usually modeled as an element and the semantic variations of that concept modeled as either child of it or contexts (dimensions) of it.

Applying DPM to SBR

In most cases, an SBR project will involve creating taxonomies for existing reporting regimes, so there will be many forms to consider and probably many equivalent data points duplicated across many of those forms, often modeled in different ways – e.g. sometimes as lists, sometimes as tables. The key to an SBR taxonomy is that you must ignore what the first occurrence of the data point looks like when you encounter it in the first form, but consider what the semantic components of it are. You are then faced with deciding how to model each component – as an element, or as a contextual variation (dimension).

There is no set rule for determining one over the other. In general terms, however, semantic components that can relate to many and diverse business concepts – e.g. country, counterparty, color, etc – are more likely to be most useful as dimensions. Those which relate only to one or very few similar concepts are most useful as specializations (children) of a broader concept – for example “notes and coins” is a semantic variation of “cash” but is unlikely to be a variation of any other business concept, so would best be modeled as a primary element. Note that none of the deliberations involved consideration of whether the data point was in a list or a table. The decision is made on what the semantic components are and what the likely reuse of them will be in a broader context.

This type of analysis is time-consuming and requires deep knowledge of the whole reporting environment – both now and in the foreseeable future. The benefits are long-term and will save a lot of changes down the track. Whether it is worth it depends entirely on your ROI horizon.

Get in touch with us today if you’re looking to produce high-quality XBRL reports.


IRIS Business Services (Asia) Pte. Ltd., Singapore

IRIS Business Services, LLC, USA

Atanou S.r.l. (Italy)

IRIS Logix Solutions Private Limited, India

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