by Jim Vaughan

You are your data.

Aug 11, 20092 mins
Data Center

It is Your Data That Makes You Who You Are.

I was at a business intelligence round table with the Illinois Technology Development Alliance ( a while back. One of the people there made the observation that it is the data of an organization that makes that organization who they are. This struck me as an interesting observation although I admit at the time that I was not fully bought into the idea. I am still not sure that I completely agree but the idea certainly seems to have some merit.

I choose to look at this merely from a data center perspective just to keep it simple. (That may be an oxymoron using simple and data center in the same sentence.) When you look at many companies, even across different market segments, you find that much of what they are doing in their data centers are quite similar. They attempt to simplify by reducing the various products and configurations within their centers. The problem is that legacy software combined with new technologies often prevents us from consolidating our technologies the way we would like.

Along with the many different systems, there are also many different databases used to measure, monitor and drive the business. Is this potpourri of databases indicative of your business? Does your business run projects and programs as if they are separate businesses? If your data is organized that way perhaps your business is organized that way as well. One of the things I learned from working with the balanced scorecard model is that a well driven strategy requires coordinated oversight of all projects. To accomplish this requires common tools and  look and feel of the data.

If your data is tightly coordinated then it is likely that your business is tightly aligned as well. If your data is scattered and uncoordinated then it is likely that your business is as well. So perhaps it is true that you are your data. So if you want to improve your strategy and performance perhaps you need to start with your data and your data center.  I would be interested to hear from anyone that is executing such an initiative to understand the pitfalls and successes.