Data, Data Everywhere

Imagine you are starting in a new position as the Enterprise Data Architect. As the name implies, your chief responsibility is to “Architect the data.”  The CIO is looking to you to make sense of the data stored in multiple heterogeneous systems, platforms, applications and data centers.

If the company has been in business for over a couple of years without a sound data management strategy, as many companies that hire for this position are, your work is cut out for you. You can depend on job security for years to come!

The last statement, maybe a little coarse but in many cases it is unfortunately, the truth. Businesses are used to cutting corners early on in their life when it comes to data; its integrity; its storage; its standardization; and even, its usage.

This is because a sound strategy and framework for data management is costly and time consuming with no visible “short term” ROI. The key phrase here is, short term. And admittedly startup businesses are trying to turn profitable in as a short time frame as humanly possible. Management and business usually want the biggest bang for the bucks in the least amount of time. Therefore, it is easier to implement applications and systems that satisfy known requirements without bothering to think about long term data issues that may arise. Essentially, the mindset at this point is to cut corners on all “non-essentials”. These usually include proper documentation, scalability issues, and most importantly, data management.

Startup businesses at first implement an application, most probably in-house, to support the core business functionality. As soon as that is done, they realize the need for another application, probably in the areas of customer support or marketing, financials, etc. Therefore, a few other disparate systems are started to support these requirements. Hopefully by this time, the business has grown to a point that the manual order processing the organization has been using would no longer satisfy the demands put upon it. So the next logical step is to implement this application, once again in a silo.

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