data is a dirty word (Part 2)

Not many things go to plan, and we do struggle daily with complex decisions. Should I move house, will I safe for retirement, do I question my marriage. The last one in particular is a bit of a big one. we tend to forget that other people have different life experiences that color language differently. As a non-native English speaker swear words have no particular meaning, they just show aggression, frustration and anger. To a native speaker this is different. Swear-words are colored with class, innuendo, and experience as a child of using them for example in class leading maybe to public embarrassment. Swearing is just one example of this gap of language. Take business for example. IT and the business just don’t use the same language. Most of the business issues with Information Technologists, Information Architecture and other such technology creatures is alienation due to language.

Do as I say…

Do as I say, not as I do is an old proverb, that got put in front of me, like a mirror by my daughter last week. We were on holidays at the Amalfi coast near Naples. Anyone who has ever driven there knows what I am talking about when mentioning that only parking is worse than driving along “that” road. Having looked for two hours solid for a parking spot after driving for four hours and loosing the right hand side mirror to a life threatening situation with a bus I lost it. It was completely unreasonable for anyone to expect of me any kind of language constraint in such a exasperating situation. But having finished the rant of bad language my daughter simply stated:

Simply not true (or why IT doesn’t help)

Things can get really complex in life. When I was modifying my guitar last week I was trying to create a wiring diagram to keep track of things (as is and to be views). Now a computer would be a great help in this, using things like visio or the like, right? Well it wasn’t and in the end it was simpler to draw the thing by hand. My incompetence combined with prohibitive costs and the poor tool capabilities illustrated yet again that IT has tools for intelligent people, plasters for not so intelligent people and games for the rest. But real help with daily complexities seem to be thin on the ground. (Anyone who knows of a wire diagram creation software that is free and has all components in it that guitars may house (including ghost pickups) should leave me a message, please!)

Let me upscale this to the business world using my pet-subject Master Data Management. We know that Master Data Management is a worthwhile exercise. We know that having complete and accurate product information (for example) helps consumers pick the right product for them, establishing in the process a reference model. In practice the issue is more complex. Poorly manufactured products like to hide behind a wall of missinformation and hearsay to hide the lesser quality and the apparent lack of features. But the market is even more complex than that. Lifestyle and budget availability may drive people to a cheaper product under certain circumstances even or especially because of the lack of features (think older citizens or handicapped people).o where does that lead to?