Why Data and Information Management Remain Elusive After Decades of Deployments


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Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast from The Open Group Conference in Austin on the growing role and importance of the information architect.

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Why Data and Information Management Remain Elusive After Decades of Deployments

  1. 1. Why Data and Information Management Remain ElusiveAfter Decades of DeploymentsTranscript of a BriefingsDirect podcast from The Open Group Conference in Austin on thegrowing role and importance of the information architect.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Sponsor: The Open GroupDana Gardner: Hi. This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and yourelistening to BriefingsDirect. Today, we present a sponsored podcast discussion in conjunction with the latest Open Group Conference in Austin, Texas, the week of July 18, 2011. We’ve assembled a distinguished panel to update us on the state of data and information management strategies. We’ll examine how it remains difficult for businesses to get the information they want in the way they can use, and why this has been a persistent problem. We’ll uncover the latest in the frameworkapproach to information and data and look at how an information architect can make a bigdifference.Here to help us better understand the role and impact of the information architect and also how toimplement a successful data in information strategy is our panel. We’re here with RobertWeisman. He is CEO of Build The Vision Incorporated. Welcome to BriefingsDirect, Robert.Robert Weisman: Thank you.Gardner: We’re also here with Eugene Imbamba. He is Information Management Architect inIBMs Software Group. Welcome, Eugene.Eugene Imbamba: Thank you very much.Gardner: And we’re here also with Mei Selvage. She is the Lead in the IBM Community ofInformation Architects. Welcome to the show, Mei.Mei Selvage: Thank you for having us.Gardner: Tell me, Robert, why it is that its so hard for IT to deliver information access in theway that businesses really want.Weisman: Its the general insensitivity to information management concerns within the industryitself, which is very much becoming much more technology and tool-driven with the actualinformation not being taken into consideration.
  2. 2. As a consequence, a lot of the solutions might work, but they don’t last, and they don’t, generally speaking, get the right information to the right person at the right time. Within The Open Group, we recognized this split about four years ago and that’s one reason that in TOGAF 9 we redefined that information technology as “The lifecycle management of information and related technology within an organization.” We didn’t want to see an IM/IT split in organizations. We wanted to make sure that the architecture addressed the needs of the entire community, especially those requiring information and knowledge.Gardner: Eugene, do you think if we focus more on the lifecycle management of informationand the architecture frameworks like TOGAF, that well get more to this requirement thatbusiness has that single view of reality?Imbamba: Definitely, focusing on reference architecture methodologies are a good way to get going in the right direction. I don’t think its the end of all means to getting there. But, in terms of leveraging whats been done, some of the architectures that have been developed, whether its TOGAF or some of the other artifacts out there, would help organizations, instead of spinning their wheels and reinventing the wheel, start building some of the foundational capabilities needed to have an enterprise information architecture.Getting to the finish lineAs a result, we’re seeing that each year with information management, projects starting up andprojects collapsing for various reasons, whether its cost or just the process or people in place.Leveraging some of these artifacts, methods, and reference architectures is a way to help getstarted, and of course employing other areas of the information management disciplines to helpget to the finish line.Gardner: Mei, when it comes to learning from those that have done this well, what do we knowabout what works when it comes to data and information management? What can we point toand say, "Without question, moving in this direction is allowing us to be inclusive, move beyondjust the data and databases, and get that view that the business is really looking for?"Selvage: Eugene and I had a long debate over how we know that weve delivered a successful information architecture. Our conclusion comes out three plus one. The first piece is just like any strategy roadmap. You need to have a vision and strategy. To have a successful information architecture vision you really have to understand your business problem and your business vision. Then, you use applicable, proven referenced architecture and methodology to support that. Once you have vision, then you come to the execution. How do you leverageyour existing IT environments, integrates with them, keep good communication, and use the bestpractices? Finally, you have to get implemented on time and on schedule within the budget -- andthe end-user is satisfied.
  3. 3. Those are three parts. Then, the plus part is data governance, not just one time project delivery.You’ll have to make sure that data governance is getting consistently implemented across theprojects.Gardner: How about in the direction of this organizational definition of what works and whatdoesn’t work? How important is it rather for an information architect role to emerge? Lets startwith you, Robert. Then, I’d like to take this to all of you. What is it about the informationarchitect role that can play an important element here?Weisman: The information architect will soon be called the knowledge architect to start realizing some of the promise that was seen in the 1980s and in the 1990s. The information architect’s role is essentially is to harmonize all manner of information and make sure its properly managed and accessible to the people who are authorized to see it. Its not just the information architect. He has to be a team player,working closely with technology, because more and more information will be not just machine-readable, but machine-processable and interpretable. So he has to work with the people not onlyin technology, but with those developing applications, and especially those dealing with securitybecause we’re creating more homogenous enterprise information-sharing environments withconsolidated information holdings.The paradigm is going to be changing. Its going to be much more information centric. Theobject-oriented paradigm, from a technical perspective, meant the encapsulation of theinformation. Its happened, but at the process level.When you have a thousand processes in the organization, you’ve got problems. Whereas, nowwe’d be looking at encapsulation of the information much more at the enterprise level so thatinformation can be reused throughout the organization. It will be put in once and used manytimes.Quality of informationThe quality of the information will also be addressed through governance, particularlyincorporating something called data stewardship, where people would be accountable, not onlyfor the structure of the information but for the actual quality of the informational holdings.Gardner: Thank you. Eugene, how do you see the role of the information architect as importantin solidifying people’s thinking about this at that higher level, and as Robert said, being anadvocate for the information across these other disciplines?Imbamba: Its inevitable that this role will definitely emerge and is going to take a higher-levelposition within organizations. Back to my earlier comment about information really becoming an
  4. 4. issue, we have lots of information. We have variety of information and varied velocity ofinformation requirements.We don’t have enough folks today who are really involved in this discipline and some of theprojections we have are within the next 20 years, we’re going to have a lot more information thatneeds to be managed. We need folks who are engaged in this space, folks who understand thespace and really can think outside the box, but also understand what the business users want,what they are trying to drive to, and be able to provide solutions that really not only look at thebusiness problem at hand but also what is the organization trying to do.The role is definitely emerging, and within the next couple of years, as Robert said, the termmight change from information architects to knowledge architects, based on where informationis and what information provides to business.Gardner: Mei, how far along are we actually on this definition and even professionalization ofthe information architect role?Selvage: I’d like to share a little bit of what IBM is doing internally. We have a major change toour professional programs and certification programs. We’ve removed IT out of architect as title.We just call architect. Under architect we have business architecture, IT architecture, andenterprise architecture. Information architecture falls under IT architecture. Even though we werecategorized one of the sub components of IT architecture.Information architect, in my opinion, is more business-friendly than any other professionals. Imnot trying to put others down, but a lot of new folks come from data modeling backgrounds.They really have to understand business language, business process, and their roles.When we have this advantage, we need to leverage those and not just keep thinking about how Icreate database structures and how I make my database perform better. Rather, my tasks todaycontribute to my business. I want to doing the right thing, rather than doing the wrong thingssooner.IBM reflects an industry shift. The architect is a profession and we all need to change ourmindsets to be even broader.Delivering business valueWeisman: I’d like to add to that. I fully agree, as I said, that The Open Group has createdTOGAF 9 as a capability-based planning paradigm for the business planning. IM and IT are justtwo dimensions of that overall capability, and everything is pushed toward the delivery ofbusiness value.You don’t have to align IM/IT with the business. IM and IT become an integral part of thebusiness. This came out of the defense world in many cases and it has proven very successful.
  5. 5. IM, IT, and all of the architecture domains are going to have to really understand the business forthat. It’ll be an interesting time in the next couple of years in the organizations that really want toderive competitive advantage from their information holdings, which is certainly becoming a keydifferentiator amongst large companies.Gardner: Robert, perhaps while you’re talking about The Open Group, you could update us abit on what took place at the Austin Conference, particularly vis-à-vis the workgroups. What wasthe gist of the development and perhaps any maturation that you can point to?Weisman: We had some super presentations, in particular the one that Eugene and Mei gave thataddressed information architecture and various associated processes and different types of sub-architectures/frameworks as well.The Information Architecture Working Group, which is winding down after two years, hascreated a series of whitepapers. The first one addressed the concerns of the data managementarchitecture and maps the data management body of knowledge processes to The Open GroupArchitecture Framework. That whitepaper went through final review in the InformationArchitecture Working Group in Austin.We have an Information Architecture Vision paper, which is an overall rethinking of howinformation within an organization is going to be addressed in a holistic manner, incorporatingwhat we’d like to think as all of the modern trends, all types of information, and figure out somesort of holistic way that we can represent that in an architecture.The vision paper is right now in the final review. Following that, were preparing a consolidatedrequest for change to the TOGAF 9 specification. The whitepapers should be ready and availablewithin the next three months for public consultation. This work should address many significantconcerns in the domain of information architecture and management. Im really confident thework that working group has done has been very productive.Gardner: Now, you mentioned that Mei and Eugene delivered a presentation. I wonder if wecan get an overview, a quick summary of the main points. Mei, would you care to go first?Selvage: We’ve already talked a lot about what we have described in our presentation.Essentially, we need to understand what it means to have a successful solution informationarchitecture. We need to leverage all those best practices, which come in a form of either aproven reference architecture or methodology, and use that to achieve alignment within thebusiness.Eugene, do you have anything you want to specifically point out in our presentation?
  6. 6. Three keysImbamba: No, just to add to what you said. The three keys that we brought were the alignmentof business and IT, using and leveraging reference architectures to successfully implementinformation architectures, and last was the adoption of proven methodology.In our presentation, we defined these constructs, or topics, based on our understanding and tomake sure that the audience had a common understanding of what these components meant.Then, we gave examples and actually gave some use cases of where we’ve seen this actuallyhappen in organizations, and where there has been some success in developing successfulprojects through the implementation of these methods. Thats some of what we touched on.Weisman: Just as a postscript from The Open Group we’re coming with an InformationArchitecture and Planning Model. We have a comprehensive definition of data and informationand knowledge; Weve come up with a good generic lifecycle that can be used by allorganizations. And, we addressed all the issues associated with them in a holistic way withrespect to the information management functions of governance, planning, operations, decisionsupport and business intelligence, records and archiving, and accessibility and privacy.This is one of the main contributions that these whitepapers are going to provide is a goodplanning basis for the holistic management of all manner of information in the form of acomplete model.Gardner: We’ve heard about how the amount of data is going to be growing exponentially,perhaps 44 times in less than 10 years, and we’ve also heard that knowledge, information, andyour ability to exploit it could be a huge differentiator in how successful you are in business. Ieven expect that many businesses will make knowledge and information of data part of theirbusiness, part of their major revenue capabilities -- a product in itself.Lets look into the future. Why will the data and information management professionalization,this role of the information architect be more important based on some of the trends that weexpect?Lets start with you, Robert. Whats going to happen in the next few year thats going to make iteven more important to have the holistic framework, strategic view of data information?Weisman: Right now, its competitive advantage upon which companies may rise and fall.Harvard Business School Press, Davenport in particular, has produced some excellent books oncompetitive analytics and the like, with good case studies. For example, a factory halfwaythrough construction is stopped because they didn’t have timely access to the their informationindicating the factory didn’t even need to be constructed. This speaks of information quality.In the new service-based rather than industry-based economic paradigm, information willbecome absolutely key. With respect to the projected increase of information available, I actuallysee a decrease in information holdings within the enterprise itself.
  7. 7. This will be achieved through a) information management techniques, you will actually get rid ofinformation; b) you will consolidate information; and c) with paradigms such as cloud, you don’tnecessarily have to have information within the organization itself.More with lessSo you will be dealing with information holdings, that are accessible by the enterprise, and notnecessarily just those that are held by the enterprise. There will also be further issues such asknowledge representation and the like, that will become absolutely key, especially withdemographics as it stands now. We have to do more with less.The training and professionalization of information architecture, or knowledge architecture, Ianticipate will become key. However, knowledge architects cannot be educated totally in a silo,they also have to have a good understanding of the other architecture domains. A successfulenterprise architect must understand all the the other architecture domains.Gardner: Eugene, how about you, in terms of future trends that impact the increased importanceof this role in this perspective on information?Imbamba: From an IBM perspective, we’ve seen over the last 20 years organizations focusingon what I call an "application agenda," really trying to implement enterprise resource planning(ERP) systems, supply chain management systems, and these systems have been very valuablefor various reasons, reducing cost, bringing efficiencies within the business.But, as you know, over the last 20 years, a lot of companies now have these systems in place, sothe competitive advantage has been lost. So what we’re seeing right now is companies focusingon an information agenda, and the reason is that each organization has information about itscustomers, its products, its accounts like no other business would have.So, what were seeing today is leveraging that information for competitive advantage, trying tooptimize your business, gleaning the information that you have so that you can understand therelationships between your customers, between your partners, your suppliers, and optimize thatto deliver the kinds of services and needs, the business wants and the customer’s needs.Its a focus from application agenda to an information agenda to try and push what’s going on inthat space.Gardner: Mei, last word to you, future trends and why would they increase the need for theinformation architecture role?Selvage: I like to see that from two perspectives. One is from the vendor perspective, just takingIBM as an example. The information management brand is the one that has the largest softwareproducts, which reflects market needs and the market demands. So there are needs to have
  8. 8. information architects who are able to look over all those different software offerings in IBM andother major vendors too.From the customer perspective, where I see a lot of trends is that many outsource basic databaseadministration, kind of a commodity or activity out to a third-party where they keep theinformation architects in-house. That’s where we can add in the value. We can talk to thebusiness. We can talk to the other components of IT, and really brings things together. That’s atrend I see more organizations are adopting.Gardner: Very good. We’ve been discussing the role and impact of an information architect andperhaps how to begin to implement a more successful data and information strategy.This comes to you as a sponsored podcast in conjunction with The Open Group Conference inAustin, Texas in the week of July 18, 2011. I’d like to thank our guests. We’ve been joined byRobert Weisman, CEO of Build The Vision Incorporated. Thanks so much, Robert.Weisman: You’re very welcome. Thank you for inviting.Gardner: And we’ve been here with Eugene Imbamba. He is Information ManagementArchitect in IBM Software Group. Thank you, Eugene.Imbamba: Thank you for having me.Gardner: And Mei Selvage, she is Lead of the IBM Community of Information Architects.Thanks to you as well.Selvage: You’re welcome. Thank you too.Gardner: This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks to our viewersand listeners as well, and come back next time.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Sponsor: The Open GroupTranscript of a BriefingsDirect podcast from The Open Group Conference in Austin on thegrowing role and importance of the information architect. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC,2005-2011. All rights reserved.You may also be interested in: • Standards effort points to automation via common markup language O-ACEML for improved IT compliance, security • Enterprise Architects Increasingly Leverage Advanced TOGAF 9 for Innovation, Market Response, and Governance Benefits • Open Group Cloud Panel Forecasts Cloud as Spurring Useful Transition Phase for Enterprise Architecture
  9. 9. • The Open Groups Cloud Work Group Advances Understanding of Cloud-Use Benefits for Enterprises• Exploring the Role and Impact of the Open Trusted Technology Forum to Ensure Secure IT Products in Global Supply Chains• Architect Certification Increasingly Impacts Professionalization of IT in Cloud Era