It's not easy being digital. Even from a personal perspective, the range of digital
devices I've accumulated and use over the past few years has grown exponentially.
From digital cameras to (multiple) wireless phones to PDAs to (again, multiple)
laptops to on-line services such as gmail, I have my fingerprints all over the
While the results have been great - I'm able to manage, communicate and produce
more effectively than I ever have before - I spend a much larger portion of
my time managing and integrating data, even at this personal level. Instead
of an old-fashioned and single address book, I have multiple digital address
books. I have email directories duplicated (and perhaps out-of-synch) across
multiple systems. Try as I might, it's simply not simple to keep information
integrated and in synch.
Unfortunately, over that same period of time, most organizations have been
experiencing the same type of problems, but on a much larger scale.
It's clear that information integration challenges have grown over the past
few years. From one perspective, enterprises are simply dealing with more data.
And that means more challenges when you're talking about data quality and data
consistency. But that's not the only change that most organizations' data has
Consider the range of other factors confronting organizations. For example,
in most organizations, data is not only more distributed now, but it's also
more heterogeneous, from legacy systems, to ERP systems to stand alone applications
running on different database platforms. Also, a significant portion of many
organization's data may be replicated-across geographies or across stove-piped
systems. For years, organizations have been using ETL, EAI, replication and
other technologies to move-and often duplicate-data throughout an organization.
While this might get the job done in the short term, data duplication can create
tremendous consistency and quality issues.
On top of these issues, organizations also have to deal with on-going changes
to data structures. As business needs change, the data required, collected,
and managed changes. However, managing these changes, across distributed, heterogeneous
data stores, can be cumbersome and difficult, especially if there's no way to
analyze the impact of such changes. A simple change to one field or column in
a single database can have an enormous ripple effect across downstream applications
that might rely on those database tables.
In addition, as much as all this structured data has grown, so has the amount
of unstructured data. In fact, many estimates by research firms highlight the
predominance of unstructured data, showing that in many cases, organizations
currently have more unstructured data than structured data that they're managing.
The end result of all these challenges points to the fact that now, more than
ever, organizations need to address information integration and data consistency
As I've mentioned in previous columns, these problems with data consistency
become significantly worse as organizations move toward implanting SOA.
That's why I believe that now is an extremely good time for most organizations
to re-evaluate their information management strategies. Over time, it will become
simply impossible for most organizations to continue managing data as inconsistently
and stove-piped as they have. Regardless of whether an organization is move
toward an SOA strategy or not, information requirements and business needs have
simply become too important for organizations to not manage information better.
So, what do today's organizations need in order to get the right information
to the right person at the right time? That's a great question. In my next column,
we'll take a closer look some of the requirements for better information management,
and how they play into an SOA strategy.
About the Author
David Kelly - With twenty years at the cutting edge of enterprise infrastructure,
David A. Kelly is ebizQ's Community Manager for Optimizing Business/IT Management. This category includes IT governance, SOA governance,and compliance, risk management, ITIL, business service management,registries and more.
As Community Manager, David will blog and podcast to keep the ebizQ
community fully informed on all the important news and breakthroughs
relevant to enterprise governance. David will also be responsible for
publishing press releases, taking briefings, and overseeing vendor
submitted feature articles to run on ebizQ. In addition, each week,
David will compile the week's most important news and views in a
newsletter emailed out to ebizQ's ever-growing Governance community.
David Kelly is ideally suited to be ebizQ's Governing the
Infrastructure Community Manager as he has been involved with
application development, project management, and product development
for over twenty years. As a technology and business analyst, David has
been researching, writing and speaking on governance-related topics
for over a decade.
David is an expert in Web services, application development, and
enterprise infrastructures. As the former Senior VP of Analyst
Services at Hurwitz Group, he has extensive experience in translating
the implications of new application development, deployment, and
management technologies into practical recommendations for enterprise
customers. He's written articles for Computerworld, Software Magazine,
the New York Times, and other publications, and spoken at conferences
such as Comdex, Software Development, and Internet World. With
expertise ranging from application development to enterprise
management to integration/B2B services to IP networking and VPNs,
Kelly can help companies profit from the diversity of a changing
ebizQ is the insiderís guide to next-generation business process management. We offer a growing collection of independent editorial articles on BPM trends, issues, challenges and solutions, all targeted to business and IT BPM professionals.
We cover BPM standards, governance, technology and continuous process improvement, as well as process discovery, modeling, simulation and optimization, among many other areas. We follow case management, decision management, business rules management, operational intelligence, complex event processing and other related topics. We closely track important trends such as the rise of social BPM, mobile BPM and BPM in the cloud. We also explore BPMís use in functional areas, such as supply chain and customer management, and in key verticals, such as financial services, health care, insurance and government.
ebizQ's other BPM-oriented content includes podcasts, webcasts, webinars, white papers, a variety of expert blogs, a lively online forum and much more.