The two most common excuses that are used to justify lack of information are poor technology and poor quality of data. Both premises are simply not true.
Let me be quite clear by stating categorically that the technology existing today is more than capable of servicing the information requirements of even the biggest enterprises in the world.
Similarly, the age-old complaint that information is lacking because a company’s data is poor in quality is simply a smoke-screen. Every company has enough basic data to increase its information content by a factor of one hundred very quickly. The real problem with data is that it’s simply in the wrong place because of the unplanned deployment of many different applications, which in turn causes the fragmentation of data until it becomes almost impossible to use. Let me explain (the obvious).
Most companies today are besieged by ‘legacy’ applications, applications that were built years ago and have become so critical that they simply cannot be easily replaced. ‘Critical’ in this sense can mean a lot of different things. Maybe the application is so sophisticated that it simply cannot be replaced with a modern equivalent in a cost-effective way. Maybe, however, it’s simply very complex and no-one knows how it works anymore! Anyway, companies have many of these types of systems, they tend to need different hardware, different operating systems, have a different ‘look and feel’ and always, I mean always, treat data as an inconvenience, storing it in a manner that reflects the application requirements rather than the natural structure of the data. Rarely will you find two or more legacy applications sharing the same data and to understand why this fragmentation happens will be the subject of the next blog.