Over the last 2 weeks I’ve been going thru five TOGAF* principles on data. To sum it all up I can’t stress the importance of data. In a field called INFORMATION Technology it shouldn’t really surprise us that data is the critical component that holds it all together.
Applications use master data and transactional data to do whatever they were designed for. So if your data isn’t of good quality applications will not do what you intended them to do. Interfaces connect applications with each other. If the interface data is not properly mapped from one application to the next all hell breaks loose. If one application’s data is of poor quality the other application suffers the consequences. Or I should rather say the other application’s users suffer the consequences. If I report out of my application or my data warehouse I make business decisions based on the data. Bad data can easily result in bad business decisions.
Now you see why in my blog on Enterprise Architecture (EA) organizational design I stress the fact that two architecture roles are critical
Business and application architects as they understand what the data means and what implication certain data values as well as data quality has on how your businesses processes execute
Data architects that understand how to appropriately move data from A to B as well as ensure processes are followed to keep your data pristine
I don’t want to dismiss the Technology Architects that protect/secure data from misuse or accidentally being lost (e.g. backup and disaster recovery).
As we move more and more into the world of automation and artificial intelligence this becomes even more pronounced. Machines execute tasks and make decisions based on the data they are being fed. Feed them clean data. That is why good software tries to ensure users only enter valid data and why AI/ML is being used to improve data quality. Until we are all replaced by robots though us humans play a key role in ensuring data quality. This is not an easy task and requires a seamless partnership between Business and IT. Take on the challenge and do not be surprised if it’s harder than you thought. Stick with it.
*The Open Group - The TOGAF® Standard, Version 9.2 > Part III: ADM Guidelines & Techniques > Architecture Principles