Yesterday in his excellent and highly recommended blog post, the veritable Homer of both Data Quality and MDM, known to us mere mortals as David Loshin, explained The Myth of the Golden Record.
Today, I will continue this theme by beginning a four-part story on a somewhat related topic. I will require your assistance in order to tell this tale properly, but more about that in just a few moments.
The Quest for the Golden Copy
Our story begins a long time ago (like sometime last century), where in the strange corporate land known as Customer Incognita, an ambitious man named Jason was attempting to usurp the throne of the beautiful and cunning CIO named Veritas.
Fearing the loss of her high station, Veritas decides to appoint Jason as the leader of the bold (but doomed) Project Argo, which has the business objective of resolving the organization’s long standing fatal flaw—namely, its inability to achieve a single view of its own customers—by creating the “golden copy” of each unique customer.
Veritas was certain that not only was attempting to achieve this goal fraught with vast complexities, but it would also prove to be both a fool’s errand and Jason’s ruin.
For after many decades of impressive business growth, including numerous mergers and acquisitions, Veritas had seen the organization become quite literally littered with innumerable data silos and embittered by ruthless political fiefdoms.
The decaying ruins of previous projects still uselessly executed on production servers, incurring hardware and software maintenance costs from dozens of different vendors. Most of the overburdened IT staff guarded these relics as if the justification of their continued employment depended on it—since in many cases, this was very true.
Most of the overwhelmed business units maintained their own private data, fiercely resisted collaboration with any other business units, thus leaving each one of them to persist by relying on their own self-serving version of the truth.
Veritas knew well that throughout the organization’s discordant offices and hallways was echoing countless conflicting definitions of the term “customer.”
Vertias knew this meant that within the organization’s dark and dysfunctional labyrinth, roamed countless digital clones of the same unique customer, all distorted and twisted into a mangled mash-up of meaningless information, upon which critical daily business decisions were being made—decisions based on little more than blind luck.
Veritas knew that Jason’s pride and arrogance would never allow him to turn down the prestigious appointment to lead Project Argo.
Surely, the project would fail, Jason would become burdened with most of the blame, and then Veritas would remain the ridiculously overcompensated CIO now left to to rule unchallenged over the organization’s vast enterprise information wasteland.
Just as Veritas expected, Jason accepts the challenging appointment and so begins:
The Quest for the Golden Copy
Long before either written language or reality television, it was the listening to and retelling of stories that served as the means of both education and entertainment.
Some stories “recorded” the history of actual events, while other stories were myths intended as an allegory to either convey meaningful ideas or provide a cautionary tale.
Stories were a social activity where groups of people gathered, not only to listen, but also to contribute. Therefore, the story was very much a communal experience.
Although today we conveniently think of Homer as an individual poet who wrote the epics the Iliad and the Odyssey, most scholars believe that these classic myths were the result of a community collaboration of multiple storytellers across centuries.
This Social Mythology was essentially the “social media” of classical antiquity.
By now you are probably thinking that I just went off on my most mythic tangent ever.
No, not exactly—because this time I actually do have a point . . .
You have also been appointed to Project Argo
In an attempted revival of Social Mythology, I would like your storytelling assistance.
As indicated above, this blog post begins a four-part story. Over the next three weeks, I would like us to write this story together—as well as collectively decide if the story will provide a cautionary tale, or convey some recommended best practices.
Next week in Part 2 of our story, we will meet the Argonauts—the project team that Jason must assemble to help him complete The Quest for the Golden Copy.
For Project Argo to be successful, what roles and responsibilities need to be added to our team? And what roles should technology and methodology play in our story?
Please contribute your story ideas by posting a comment below.