I heard a funny story on the way to the coffee machine this morning (actually yesterday). Yet another end user organization said to me: “It was just 6 months after our project (ERP migration) that we discovered we had lost control of our data and it started to materially impact our ability to perform”. This phrase, and many like it, is very common. What isn’t as common is the 6 month number. I get the feeling the average is actually 9 months, though there are a few around or even less than 6 months. Some limp along, after 12 months, and continue towards oblivious without realizing how useful consistent information is to critical business performance.
So is this figure, 3, 6 or 9 months, a kind of “information utility half life”? What factors would dictate the time it takes before something hits the fan? Would a manufacture’s so called information usefulness half life differ from an insurance organization? What about a firm that actually sells information – would that be even more dependent on information usefulness or utility? What about the size and complexity of the application landscape – I would imagine this has a factor also. I am sure there are others. What do you think?
I had another idea some time ago related to information fitness. Fitness is a term used very specifically in evolutionary theory and I am intrigued with the idea of applying the concept to information. Too often the term “data quality” is thrown out there as a broad umbrella to mean a lot of different things. Some others use the term fidelity, and so they “wrap” quality under it. For those that use data quality, the term “fidelity” might be an element of it. But fitness seems to be a good, new word to cover all known and even known unknown elements of quality and fidelity and overall persistence of value over time. Some questions:
- How long does value in information persist?
- How can we account for its value if its own utility, usefullness, quality, or fitness falls?
- Does the value curve fall at the same rate as the fitness curve?
- How does informatin fitness change, and how is it changed, once information assets are combined (think bills of material)
All good questions – right? Even better to discuss over a beer – perhaps we can explore at our upcoming Enterprise Information and Master Data Management Summits:
- London, UK: http://www.gartner.com/technology/summits/emea/data-management/?nicam=vemeamdm
- Las Vegas, USA: http://www.gartner.com/technology/summits/na/master-data-management/
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