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Richard Skriletz

This blog is about moving businesses into the Information Age and out of the Age of Programming. It is about centering the focus of IT and business units on business data rather than applications: How will this change business operations and IT's support of them? What will it mean for IT to be data- rather than application-centric? I intend to explore these questions and more as a means to finding new operating principles for business and IT in the Information Age.

About the author >

Richard is a manager and management consultant with more than 35 years experience working in large corporate and start-up environments. His professional focus is on the strategic application of information technology to improving operational performance, managing organizational and technical change, and optimizing business effectiveness. Richard is a Global Managing Principal with RCG Global Services and CEO of InfoNovus Technologies. He can be reached via email at

Editor's Note: You will find more articles and resources, and Richard's blog in his BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

You may think that my role as an occasional contributor to the BeyeNETWORK makes it obvious why I emphasize data in this blog, but it isn't the case entirely.  Yes, the BeyeNETWORK is focused on data issues and improving the ability of organizations to deliver quality information effectively.  I believe in and support this purpose which is why I am happy to contribute here. 

However, my reasons for emphasizing data goes beyond this: it is clear that the problems that prevent IT from delivering useful information to the business quickly and easily are exclusively data problems brought on by the outdated, in my view, focus on applications and the functionality they deliver.  Let me explain this.

Consider these definitions (source: Wikipedia):

  • "A computer program (also software, or just a program) is a sequence of instructions written to perform a specified task with a computer."
  • "Computer programming (often shortened to programming or coding) is the process of designing, writing, testing, debugging, and maintaining the source code of computer programs. . . . The purpose of programming is to create a set of instructions that computers use to perform specific operations or to exhibit desired behaviors."
  • "Application software, also known as an application or an app, is computer software designed to help the user to perform specific tasks."  [Note that "perform specific operations or to exhibit desired behaviors" is equivalent to "computer software designed to help the user to perform specific tasks."]

This focus on creating (or buying) programs means that programming--automating specific user tasks addressed by the program or application--is front and center.  This has been the story of IT since it first entered into the business world.

This focus on the program has limited the importance of data to what is needed by the program or the application which contains the program.  This has created the problems we face with the duplication, quality, and variations of data in the enterprise.  After all, we wouldn't talk about data quality, master data management, and data governance if there were no data problems.

Only by rethinking what we mean by programs, programming, and applications will we eliminate the root cause of data problems.  My next post will address the characteristics of this shift from a focus on applications and the functionality they deliver can be made and how it can eliminate problems and costs associated with data today.

Posted July 23, 2012 11:46 AM
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1 Comment

"This focus on the program has limited the importance of data to what is needed by the program or the application which contains the program. "

A great point! The program is designed to manage/control/store the data. Without the data there would be no program!

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