Information = Data + Metadata + Context

If you don't know what this is or why this is here you should be ashamed of yourself. Now go read all of Douglas Adam's books immediately. Twice.

Here is a presentation (ppt format, natch) I recently gave on EII at an internal event.

This presentation was inspired by a conversation I had with the other John a while ago: With all this talk about SOA and process, what about the data? 

Data and metadata are the keys to enabling many exciting things:

  • Discovery
  • Reflection
  • Interoperability
  • Code and contract generation
  • Service factoring (lots more on this later)
  • and much, much more....

This shouldn't be a revelation to you or anyone else out there. Unfortunately we keep missing this fact. My experiences with EAI projects in the past is that they failed to deliver on their expected levels of ROI. Why is this? We wrote great code, we worked with the users and the integration tools performed flawlessly. Why then did our solutions failing to live up to the user's long-term expectations? Could it be due to the fact that we focused more on the movement and transformation of the data and not necessarily enough on the "whys" behind the data? (e.g. who needs this data and for what purpose? what does this data mean in a given context?)

Maybe I'm just babbling but I think there's a pattern here. I'm seeing it again with all the fuss about SOA. Everyone wants to talk about infrastructure, process and service design but no one seems to want to talk about the importance of data and metadata. 

Thanks to my good buddy JP for inspiring the title of this blog entry - you owe it to yourself to check out his book.