The Journey to an Application Data Asset Library
Often times IT requirements are handed over to business users to review and are expected to understand what is provided. The only problem is most business users do not know how to interpret the graphics and associated acronyms and arrows show data flows. It is like a chemist showing non-chemist the structure of a compound and expecting them to understand it. If it does not work for scientist why would it work for IT professionals? One method to help explain and more importantly show the complexity of the IT environment is to create a single page view of all systems in the organization.
This method will help determine the state of an organizations current environment and the applications and data areas they support. The primary objective of this activity is to collect the applications that exists, what types of data are contained within the applications and what functional areas of the company are main consumers of the data. All of this information needs to be collected and documented in a manner that was easy for anyone in the organization to pickup and immediately understand what was being presented. The solution is to create an Application Data Asset Library.
How to Create an Application Data Asset Library
The basic framework to begin this type of current state document is show below:
The large blue outer box represents a Functional Area and surrounds the application and data assets. The functional area should show what group within the organization is the primary users of the application. This should also help you determine application owners as you document the environment. The grey boxes represent the actual applications that the users in the functional area utilize that contain data that you want to manage as an enterprise data asset. The light boxes then represent the data assets within the application. Every application will have at least one data asset. Larger applications such as Microsoft Dynamics would have more than one such as Finance and Inventory.
Once each of the functional areas and their associated applications and data assets are documented. The next step is to combine all of the information into a single page shown here:
By completing this activity you will be in a better position to talk about what application are required, where duplications may exist and how to create a future state strategic guide.