Sunday, August 24, 2003

EntArch

I've just finished draft one of my Enterprise Architecture paper for government. I'm going to circulate it quite widely within government and to some of the supplier community so that I can get some feedback on it before going to draft two. I haven't even got close to an executive summary yet, I'll do that when I get to the next draft. I've got it in my head that the document is one of two things. It's either a paper that serves to stop you getting indigestion from eating an elephant (two rules: know how big the elephant is so that you can pace yourself and have a big knife) or it's a "you can't get there from here" story. I'm tending towards the latter. The essence of my paper is that before technology, the data we had was our asset. We looked after it - there was one master source for the books of a company, one customer list and so on. When technology came along we quickly created many copies of our data, manipulated them in different ways, allowed the marketing people to talk to the customers one way, the sales people another way, the product people another way. We added products that needed new systems that didn't work the same way as the old systems. We kept the programmes and the data closely coupled and didn't share anything. Before long, the data wasn't the asset, even the systems weren't the asset. If we had an asset, it was probably the few people who had been around long enough to understand what had happened, what we had originally and how the systems interacted - every company has a few of those people. We need to go back to the data being the asset.

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