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DM p30 Opinion - IPL Feb09.qxp 29/01/2009 13:22 Page 30
The modern world of data management has moved tions. For example, the use of the term “customer”
from being simply for bespoke developments to tak- could have many meanings. But how can you see
ing on a corporate view across the entire enterprise. how the data flows and transforms from one system
Data is no longer simply contained in in-house sys- to another? This is particularly important when load-
tems. With such a complex landscape, how can busi- ing data from legacy source systems and is where the
nesses be sure that data flowing through their sys- process of data lineage fits into the overall data man-
agement framework.
Preventing a
New, old and external systems are increasingly
required to communicate. As data moves between
systems, it can be exposed to re-interpretation. If a
business does not understand how data transforms
data disaster
through its systems dramatic consequences can arise.
Furthermore understanding how financial data is
transformed as it moves through systems is now a
Data is the lifeblood of any
requirement of the Sarbanes Oxley Act.
organisation, so why don’t
New approaches to data management
we manage it the same way Services Orientated Architecture (SOA) is a relatively
we manage our other
new approach to building application systems, and
brings with it new data management challenges.
business assets? The management disciplines of handling data in
Chris Bradley explores the
SOA are not yet widely understood. SOA defines
processes and data as separate concepts, which could
need to get back to basics
lead to varying definitions existing across compo-
with the control, definition
nents of the eventual application. Without added
data modelling in SOA, the definition and context of
and context of business
data may not always align correctly.
Issues have been seen in the reporting of data from
SOA applications. The use of data modelling along-
side even the newest of data management systems
tems is consistent? Who controls the data, its defini- upholds a basic principle: that the basics of data
tion and use (or uses) within a business? modelling are still fundamental to data management.
A series of four data management webinars Enterprises need to care for their data in the same
between October 2008 and January 2009 (ERP sys- way they manage other key enterprise assets. The
tems, data lineage, metadata and data models for SOA data must be managed, recorded and communicated
and XML development) were designed to demon- clearly across the organisation to prevent regulatory
strate a universal and important theme: data model- non-compliance or expensive data inaccuracies.
ling is not just for physical databases. Famous ‘data disasters’ show the need for traceabil-
ity of data, especially for financial institutions. The
The need to nurture data Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
With data from so many locations, the need to con- and Sarbanes Oxley acts have all impacted signifi-
trol data affects businesses right across the board. As cantly on data management issues. Such legislation
systems such as SAP and Seibel software were intro- highlights organisational accountability for the
duced, organisations often neglected data modelling, recording, control and traceability of data.
assuming the packages were enough and the bigger IPL made a case for why data modelling is perti-
data management picture was often neglected. Yet nent for SOA technologies in its final webinar in
data modelling is still essential to control, communi- January 2009. Titled “A Sine of the Times: Leveraging
cate and define that data within organisations. data models for SOA and XML development”, the ses-
Without it, inconsistencies appear in business data sion discussed the importance of using a consistent
shared between sectors. A data management applica- data modelling environment when implementing
tion shows the physical connections in a database, SOA and XML based development strategies.
but data modelling provides the blueprint for integra- To review this, or the previous three webinars,
tion across all the business’s applications. these can be downloaded from www.embarcadero-
Adding up the numbers
Data is collected and used across various sources and Chris Bradley is business consulting manager
applied in differing ways between separate opera- at software solutions provider IPL.
30 Database Marketing February 2009
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