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An IT Progression

Originally published March 11, 2010

Once upon a time, the IT department was the place where new technology entered the corporation, where applications were built, and where end user requirements were the focus of the organization. Fast forward to today and the IT department looks nothing like the IT department of yesteryear. Today, the IT department is filled with people who select and install new technology. Most people in the IT department today have never come close to building or implementing a system from scratch. Try finding a person today who can shoot a dump. Even better, try to find someone who even knows why you would want to shoot a dump.

If you look merely at yesterday and today, it is almost incredible the two departments were ever related. But when you look at the phenomenon of the evolution of the IT department today in a step at a time progression, everything seems natural and gradual.

Such a progression might look like the following:

1960

Build, implement systems – COBOL, assembler, Fortran, et al.

Build, implement systems with master files

1965

Build, implement structured systems with master files (influence of Yourdon and DeMarco)

Build, implement structured systems with databases – IMS

1970

Build, implement structured systems with online databases and transactions, CICS, et al.

Ensure good response time and availability, maintain systems, occasionally build a new system

1975

Ensure high performance, maintain systems, install 4GL - Focus

Ensure high performance, maintain systems, service 4GL, allow PC access to system

Ensure high performance, maintain systems, 4GL, PC access, write extract programs

Ensure high performance, maintain systems, PC access, extract programs, data model

1980

High performance, maintenance, PC access, data dictionary, extract programs, data model

Performance, maintenance, PC access, metadata, extract, data model

High performance, maintenance, PC access, data dictionary, extract programs, data model

Performance, maintenance, PC access, metadata, extract, data model

1985

Performance, maintenance, PC, data warehouse, data model – Irwin

1990

Performance, ERP, PC, data warehouse, data mart, ODS

Performance, ERP, data warehouse, data mart, ODS, exploration warehouse – the Corporate Information Factory

1995

Performance, ERP installation and implementation, data warehouse, data marts

ERP implementation, data warehouse, data marts, archival storage

2000

ERP implementation, data warehouse, lots of data marts, near line storage

ERP operation, data warehouse, lots of data marts, DW 2.0

2005

ERP operation, data warehouse, lots of data marts, DW 2.0, data warehouse appliances

2010

ERP operation, data warehouse, lots of data marts, DW 2.0, data warehouse appliances, textual ETL

When one looks at the IT department of 2010 and harks back to the IT department of 1960, it is simply amazing to see the differences in the people, the activities, the priorities, and the sophistication of the two different environments. It is truly like comparing a Stone Age caveman to a modern day astronaut.

  • Bill InmonBill Inmon

    Bill is universally recognized as the father of the data warehouse. He has more than 36 years of database technology management experience and data warehouse design expertise. He has published more than 40 books and 1,000 articles on data warehousing and data management, and his books have been translated into nine languages. He is known globally for his data warehouse development seminars and has been a keynote speaker for many major computing associations.

    Editor's Note: More articles, resources and events are available in Bill's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

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Comments

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Posted March 12, 2010 by Antoon Van Nuffel avnuffel@hotmail.com

When you look at the tools I aggree that the comparison stands, when we look at the quality of the software, I see no progress at all (today I received again updates for Windows XP a software that is more tahn 10 years old) and the expectation is even so that people accept that software has errors. When we look at the data quality produced by these systems I often have the feeling that the caveman was better equiped and that I wil not be an astronaut who will risk his live based on the information quality delvered by these flashy tools.

Regards

Antoon Van Nuffel

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