Before you start building you next business or data model, find out what it was that infected or killed your last one!
Business and data models continue to be built in enterprises year after year. All of them come to life after a great deal of pain and effort. Most of them cause yet far more pain while they are alive and then, mercifully, they die. A blessed relief for all concerned.
The enterprise then realises that the pain of living without them is greater than the pain of living with them, and once again begins the tortuous process of giving birth to what is doomed to be yet another huge, deformed monster.
Why does this happen?
Insanitary Practices Cause Infection
Because most enterprises are really unhealthy environments in which to conceive these models.
Essentially, they are insanitary. There are so badly infected with day-to-day bad practices that no model can can stay healthy for any length of time. Some of these infections will prevent the models being born at all. Paradoxically, this is often a blessing for the enterprise. It would have been far worse had the infected model survived.
The greatest curse for any enterprise is a model that has been so badly infected by the unhealthy environment, lack of fundamental knowledge, lack of standards and appallingly bad practice that it has, from day one, started to mutate and grow into some grotesque, alien life-form. This starts to absorb huge amounts or energy even before it is born, and ever more so after it is!
Amazingly, a multimillion dollar industry has grown up to support these monsters. Yes, to support them! The consultants from these industries will tell enterprises that they have done nothing wrong, that all models turn out like this. They tell them that process, data and IT are complex things. It is not possible to talk of these in terms of ‘zero defects’, or ‘getting it right first time’.
They acknowledge that what the enterprise has spawned is indeed grotesque, but to be expected. However, fear not, they can help. Can they cure it or reverse it? Well, no. Nobody can. However, what they can do is even better. They can support the enterprise in looking after and nurturing it.
Yes it will grow bigger and yes it will create more inefficiencies, costs and errors. Happily, the consultants have, for a price, unlimited amounts of really powerful medicine in the form of ‘magic’ software and a highly paid specialist team to help the enterprise administer it for as long as the life-form survives which, with their help, will be a very long time.
Is There No Hope?
Is this really what you want for your enterprise? Is there no alternative? Yes, there is and it is essentially simple.
Firstly, you have to completely sanitise your enterprise. You have to get rid of all bad standards, attitudes and practices – and of the people who perpetuate them.
What are these bad standards, attitudes and practices?
I will describe all of these and their antidotes in the next two articles on The Pathology of Business & Data Models. The first of these will be on Function and Process models and then on Data – covering Data Quality and Master Data Management.
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