What is Information Technology? Well in simple terms its technology that enables information processing, storage, sharing, and accessibility. The business needs information to carry out its functions, processes, activities, and tasks. The systems and their underlying technologies process the underlying data to get it to the people who need it in our organizations.
Government Computer News, 21 January 2008 has an article by Mike Daconta (previously from the Department of Homeland Security) that offers tip on better data management.
- Data privacy audit—“given that identity theft and government data loss are of public concern, you should conduct an audit of the privacy vulnerability of your data assets.”
- Data dictionary—the article calls for a business glossary to communicate across organizational boundaries; to ensure that terms mean the same thing to everyone. I would call this an enterprise data dictionary.
- Data mashups—use web applications to combine data and/or functionality from more than one source.
- Data elements—“expose each major data entity in your business glossary [I would say in your data inventory]…with a standard set of create, read, update, and delete services. You then build higher-level services on top of these foundational services” for SOA.
The article has a simile for describing data as follows: “if money is an organization’s lifeblood, and people its muscles, data is the nervous system.”
But data is not really the nervous system, instead the network is the nervous system, since it is the network that relays messages back and forth from one body part to another.
So what body part is data like?
Data is the electrical impulses carried by the nervous system that tells the various body parts what they need to do.
Interestingly, when is a person declared dead? When they have no brain function anymore. Not when they cannot eat or breathe (machines can perform this artificially to keep a person “alive”.) But if the brain that processes the data is not functioning, then we declare a person dead. Without the ability to process data, neither an organization nor a person can survive.