Tuesday, May 02, 2006

One more TLA to remember

EIM is a recent Gartner market positioning which is an umbrella term for business intelligence, master data management and content management. While there is a certain inevitable "not another acronym" reaction, this particular one makes quite a lot of sense to me. Gartner have sensibly made the term explicitly cover business processes rather than just technology, so that data governance and stewardship would be part of this broad area. As the Gartner notes say, data integration is at the heart of this.

I think this is positive because the industry has taken an overly technology-centric perspective this so far. Technologies such as ETL are necessary but not sufficient to deliver a broad-based understanding of corporate information. I have observed some forward-looking companies setting up new organizations to manage information, staffed with mainly business rather than IT staff. The groups have the remit to cover the provision of data as a service to the rest of the enterprise, and so they have to worry about data quality, data warehouses, master data, integration middleware and all the processes that go along with it: indeed, this is pretty much a definition of what EIM is all about. Taking a holistic, business-led approach is the right thing to do, since providing high quality, timely data requires a level of business ownership that cannot just be delegated to the internal IT department, or out-sourced to India. The various supporting technologies need to do just that: support business rather than being ends to themselves.

It will be interesting to see how this new terminology catches on, but I think it has legs since it seems to me to incorporate a lot of common sense.

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