Blogger: Lyn Robison
Enterprise IT isn’t as cool as the Web, and here are some reasons why. The Web allows information to flow, and the Web also allows people to collaborate and build relationships with one another. Enterprise IT generally doesn’t. Enterprise IT is stodgy because IT systems are most often implemented in nonflexible silos that were designed primarily to automate individual business processes. Silos in Enterprise IT are not designed to let information flow, and enterprise IT silos are most often not designed to let people collaborate and build relationships with one another. In short, enterprise IT is not cool because IT doesn’t let information flow or people collaborate.
Enterprise IT is obligated to automate business processes. We gotta do that. The business expects enterprise IT to automate their work. But business process automation should not be all that we do in enterprise IT. The business needs more from enterprise IT than process automation. In fact, if process automation is all that we do in enterprise IT, the business will think we are stodgy, because we are.
To find information about how to let people collaborate and build relationships with one another, see the CCS blog.
Letting information flow in enterprise IT requires two things:
1. Lowering the level of information model pre-agreement
2. Managing identifiers
The Web is a terrific platform for sharing information because the level of information model pre-agreement is low. A web client and a web server need only understand the HTTP protocol and a few basic document types. Typical data integration between enterprise IT systems requires a high degree of information model pre-agreement, and that makes data integration difficult, and that makes enterprise IT stodgy. What many IT professionals fail to realize is that when you are integrating data that is to be consumed by humans, you can use the Web model, and you don’t need to have this high degree of information model pre-agreement.
When identifiers are managed properly, enterprise IT gets less stodgy. For example, UPS and FedEx can easily track parcels, using tracking numbers. People with common names can be removed from terrorist “watch lists”, because of the RFID tags in their passports. Automobiles are easily distinguished using their license plate and/or their VIN. And airplanes can be readily identified using their tail number. When enterprise IT manages identifiers improperly, which sadly is quite common, the business can never get a complete view of their interactions with a particular customer, because that customer is identified differently in different systems. The business can never manage any long-lived and valuable assets through their useful life, because each long-lived asset is identified differently in different systems. And businesspeople cannot find the information they need on a wide variety of vital business topics, because information about those topics is buried deep within silos and is irretrievable because it is misidentified. And this makes enterprise IT stodgy.
Let's fix IT's stodginess by enabling people to collaborate and build relationships, by lowing the level of information model pre-agreement, and by managing identifiers properly.