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Data Integration and Governance as a "Business" System

There is a very active discussion underway in various Linked groups called A Big Hairy Audacious Vision (Rob Karel gets credit for headline) about the Next Generation Data Integration.  At the heart of the vision is that data integration technology should be a "business system" rather than a collection of IT tools.  I would be interested to hear what members of Govern Your Data think about the blog article.

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So much to talk about there.

Yes, I think he's right on the button with a lot of what he is saying. I think a lot of businesses are being forced into 'BAU' data integration after their own IT departments have been outsourced. Businesses are slowly discovering that these outsourcing companies do not have the same commercial goals as their own and are now finding it hard to make the changes they need for the right price.

There is a new paradigm arising from this situation. I remember when you needed a COBOL programmer if you wanted to integrate or move data. Now there are packages and environments that make the job far simpler than it used to be. We have a lot to thank the software industry for these simplified tools. As such, the role of IT is changing. They should be tasked with setting up these environments and tools for the business to run.

But what about architecture? Do we now need two types of architect? An IT architect who deals with infrastructure and systems and a business architect who deals with marts entities and integration? Both needing to approach enterprise from from their respective angles? If so, who is to keep them aligned, agile and pulling in the right direction? Data Governance, perhaps?

I also suspect that the demand and the sheer volume of data is only going to increase exponentially. Therefore, the IT department need to plan the solutions and infrastructure to cope with it. Businesses can help by taking ownership of the data and taking the day-to-day small changes off IT (i.e. data integration). Once again, Data Governance has an enormous role in ensuring that it can happen.

Richard, I’m glad you brought the architecture dimension into the discussion. I’ve always thought we should have three types of architects:

  1. Functional architects that make sure it works
  2. Technical architects that make sure it works fast
  3. Business architects that make sure that benefits are realized

And then there is a second dimension to each of these three roles; one dimension focuses on specific projects or solutions, and another dimension focuses on the system-of-systems at the enterprise level.

You raise a good point that maybe it doesn’t matter where these folks report in the organizational structure, but that possibly they all need to answer to, and be held accountable by, the data governance body.

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