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iData – Part 3 “What if Data in the Eco-System Went Bad?”

by Jodee Hale-Schmid

August 25, 2010

Authored by David Kuketz, EIM Client Partner – Southeast, Utopia, Inc.

Let’s cook your noodle a little now. What if the iTunes® data was incomplete, out of date, inconsistent, duplicitous, incorrect, misleading even? For one I wouldn’t be able to discover music I like, thus my purchase frequency and dollar volume would be lower, or non-existent. My playlists and tags would be all wrong. ‘Genius’ wouldn’t make proper recommendations, I’d be very unhappy, and Apple’s stock price would probably plummet when the music stopped flowing out (and the cash stopped flowing in) and the inventory of iPods® and iPhones® piled up … well the eco-system just would not function properly. It would be very ill, toxic, maybe even die.

Everyone would be impacted, the producers, the music makers, the entire music industry perhaps would plunge into a recession and take the rest of t he country with it. OK - a bit dramatic – but only to illustrate the point.

At the end of the day, the question isn’t who owns the data so much as who’s benefiting from the eco-system. Fact is, everyone participating in the eco-system benefits from the data so we all have a vested interest in making it correct. Each participant has a role and each role has certain responsibilities for data entry and rights to data usage. These are rules in the system (more data). These are like business rules in a company. Here we have data governance being implemented and managed, and we’re not really aware that it’s going on around us. Perfect!

The metadata and data models, the workflows, the networking, the ease-of-use, the trust in the system – all need to function as one homogenous system for optimum value and performance. The eco-system’s architecture is based on a simple premise that the foundation of it, which is the “data”, is going to support it for the entire life-cycle of the system and its upgrades and retro-fits.

This is fundamental. It is like a law of physics or nature. It just doesn’t change. Businesses are eco-systems. Properly functioning eco-systems do not have viruses running around infecting sub-systems, making the eco-system ill. Bad data is like a virus, its toxic, and it can make a business ill. Businesses have to evolve to survive in the world in which they “live”, and part of that evolution is the data, the technology upgrades, and the people learning to adapt with it; accepting change as a good thing, because change is beneficial to all when managed correctly.

Hence the need for integrated, end-to-end, full-spectrum enterprise data lifecycle management (EDLM), creation, governance, stewardship; and that, as we can easily see, takes people, process, policy, promot ion, and technology. I don’t really care who owns the data – we’re all beneficiaries. Now, where’s “my” iPod®?

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