Note from the publisher: This is the final column of the latest TDAN.com series from our friend, Donna Burbank. Donna has been a consistent contributor to the success of the publication for many years.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank her publicly for the charm, wit and wisdom that she has imparted on us over the years. From her recent “Business of Data” column back through her “Metamusing on Life, Business, Data” columns – Donna has shown data people that writing and reading about data management practices can be informative as well as fun and interesting. Thank you, Donna.
Here is a taste of Donna’s columns from the most recent back several years:
Excerpt: The concept of linking business processes with data is not a new concept. But, as with many core architectural components, it seems to be seeing a resurgence and is as important as ever in relation to many of the hot topics in data management today. In working with several clients in various industries with quite different data management projects underway, it occurred to me that a similarity across all of them was the importance of linking to business priorities and the business processes that support them. Following are some examples of how business process came into play in several different scenarios: Master Data Management, Data Governance, Data Quality, and Big Data Analytics.
Excerpt: “I don’t have time to document metadata.”
If you’re in the data management or software industry, I’m sure you’ve heard this as often as I have. This is usually followed with a statement such as “I wrote the code!” or “I built the application!”, or some other thinly-veiled self-praise. What the person is really saying is “I’m too important to document metadata – I do the hard stuff.”
Excerpt: A key tenet of my information management practice is that any data strategy needs to be driven by the organization’s overall business strategy. For example, what are the organization’s current business model and goals? Are there industry trends that require changes to this model? How can data help drive business change, or support business process improvements? How can we use data to a strategic advantage? For example, a brick-and-mortar bookstore might be experiencing pressure from online sales venues, and thus is looking to change its business model to include web-based sales. While existing customer information on buying patterns and sales might help shape the online store, new information might be needed such as customer emails or social media profiles.
Excerpt: It’s an exciting time to be in data management. It is one of the most rapidly-changing periods in the history of data management, particularly with innovations around Big Data and related solutions. Even more exciting than the technological transformation that is occurring, is the business transformation that is resulting from new opportunities available within data-centric technology. Data is becoming an economic and business driver, and a disruptive force in the market.
Excerpt: I have a lot of admiration for the peacock. At its core, it’s an average-looking, skinny little bird. But that’s not what most people think of when they are asked to picture a peacock. Typically, when we think of the peacock, we envision the beautiful fan of feathers—large, ornate, and colorful. Both descriptions of the peacock are true. It is both a skinny little bird as well as an ornate, beautiful creature. But the peacock must have a great marketing team, because our perception focuses on the beautiful feathers, not the dull, ordinary bird.
Excerpt: In today’s technology-laden world, many of us have a similar love-hate relationship with technology, both at work and at home. In both instances, knowing when to use technology wisely is critical. With the rapid rate of change in today’s IT environment, it’s hard to keep track of all the new technologies out there and to know which is the right fit for your organization. It’s easy to relate to today’s teenager, with the peer pressure to have the latest phone or device. In data management, you may be thinking to yourself “All of the cool kids are using Hadoop. Will I be left out if I stick with Oracle?”
Excerpt: Many of us in the data management space have been involved in an Agile project, where often there is a clash of cultures between a more traditional “design then build” approach and the “responding to change rather than following a plan” approach of the Agile Manifesto. One of the themes and tenets of Agile is to create models and software that are “just good enough.” Rather than working to perfection, it’s important to build just enough to keep going and get the project completed, with the ability to rework it later as need.
Excerpt: “Aligning business with IT” has become a common refrain in our industry—so common, in fact, that many consider it trite. But, despite all the conversation around the topic, have we gotten any closer to making this a reality? In our book, Data Modeling for the Business (2009, ISBN 978-0-9771400-7-7) Steve Hoberman, Chris Bradley and I discuss some of the approaches that data architects can use to “market” their data modeling projects to their business sponsors.