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Recommendations for Implementing Enterprise Data Architecture
We have got to define table modeling as the main tool for bringing IT into alignment with government's mission. It must remain government's focus in perpetuity.
The definition of table modeling here is broad in that it involves harmonizing data with outside governmental organizations, sharing data and systems with those organizations, and bringing continuity to table analysis and table updates driven by business intelligence.
Here is an overview of how to start implementing enterprise data architecture so that table design is the primary focus.
1. Appoint someone
to be a data architect for each organization. They must be highly skilled
in data modeling and understand how to transform business requirements
into data tables.
Super-alignment to the organization's mission is clearly possible because E.F. Codd's invention, the relational model for database management, which is based on relational algebra, brings data to efficiency perfection using easy-to-follow rules. Simply bringing organizational data into third normal form resolves business problems throughout the organization and improves IT alignment to the organization's mission in the most powerful and cost effective way.
It is amazing that such a simple, mathematically based solution is available to solve so many problems.
Third normal form is smarter than programmers, analysts, managers and
government. Implementing third normal form unthinkingly, blindly, yields
more intelligent results than process oriented humans. Many times when
making the slightest variance from strict normalization, I have been surprised
to find that there was hidden value in the strict form and needed to go
back and correct the table design.
Incrementally re-engineer systems during change opportunities
Each time there is a single integration improvement, IT removes subtle roadblocks to supporting the organization's mission. Then data silos inexorably become accessible, clients' problems disappear, maintenance problems are reduced and connectivity opportunities open up across government. This stepwise approach is a little like government being a boa constrictor when battling an enemy. Whenever its enemy breathes out, the boa's coils tighten a little more. In our case, the enemy is disintegrated data, so whenever there is change, our version of tightening our coils is to integrate the data a little more until data silos are gone and strong alignment to the organization's mission is accomplished. This incremental method is also the least expensive approach.
Each time there is change, the data architect should update an integration map of how the table needs integration, or is available for integration.
Normalization principles are immune to subjective bias so they should be easy to implement. But why then is IT in its current state? Don't IT managers have degrees in computer science and know this already? Shouldn't they have already fixed most IT business problems? Several factors impede integration.
One of the key things
that even experienced data managers underestimate is the high degree of
normalization strictness needed to keep IT in alignment with the organizational
mission. Even systems that have recently been rewritten from scratch begin
to disintegrate if small changes are not evaluated for integration opportunities.
This leads us to a very unusual conclusion not heard often in the IT world.
If enterprise data were always kept fully normalized and updated for business
rule changes, no rewrites of computer systems would be necessary. Even
legacy systems would eventually offer as much value as new systems using
the stepwise process above, and the only reason for migrating away from
them would be to save money on cheaper platforms, but their data functionality
would be perfect. This underscores the enormous value of focusing government
on table modeling. Add up the cost of small, medium and largest system
rewrites, unnecessary maintenance, unnecessary labor and lost functionality
to see the true value of keeping data models fine-tuned. It is stupendous.
Government IT must remain focused on table modeling.
Integration Help Desk
A centralized help desk should be created in each state to assist all of the state's agencies in connecting data between internal and external departments.
A component of the help desk should include experts who offer SOA, security, web services and other technical help in establishing data exchanges. This would speed up connectivity implementation first identified by the data architect in each organization, and free the data architect from work that is not part of their core function, modeling data.
The following article
recommends a description of the duties of a data architect, who should
be the chief person focusing on modeling their organization and the whole