Accidental Architecture Insurance

Recently, Rick Sherman describes the pitfalls of misaligned data-centric architectures in
his article series:, the Accidental Architecture and Recovering from the Accidental Architecture.

A word of caution: do not get too wrapped up in the architecture. Some companies will get so fixated on the final architecture that they take months or years trying to develop it. The architecture is not the result of your BI/DW project, but rather a means to an end. Do not spend time on a monstrous, complicated architecture that solves world hunger; design something that you can start developing toward and that you can evolve over time.

I couldn’t agree more with what Rick is saying. I also have my own top 5 list of how to immediately capitalize on the return from Data Integration and Management investments while at the same time reducing development costs helping consolidate IT.

Here’s an excerpt from the State of the Data Integration Market White Paper where we polled over 350 global top companies to get to the bottom of what was bugging them: We identified these top 5 lessons learned:

- Avoid fragmented solutions
- Solve IT/Business alignment challenges first
- Consider data governance early in the process
- Implement data services for improved agility
- Start small, show incremental value, and repeat.

This last point, I’ll expand on because it’s one that I think is most important and circles back to what Rick is discussing as well. One of the recent lessons learned from SOA implementations is to start projects on a smaller scale—despite the urge to cross enterprise boundaries for immediate agility benefits. The same lesson applies to larger data warehouse, MDM, and BI projects that expand in scope across the company. The most successful data integration projects are ones that solve a manageable problem that exists across the organization, while still providing incremental value to the business. For example, using data services enables the incremental reuse of information by the processes and applications that need them for a particular project, while leaving existing infrastructure in place.

So try not to get wrapped up in the complexities of data. I welcome you to use some of the data integration tools available to insure against those nasty architecture accidents!

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