In a manner similar to most organizations, BigCompany (BigCo) was determined to benefit strategically from its widely recognized and vast quantities of data. (U.S. government agencies make regular visits to BigCo to learn from its experiences in this area.) When faced with an explosion in data volume, increases in complexity, and a need to respond to changing conditions, BigCo struggled to respond using a traditional, information technology (IT) project-based approach to address these challenges. As BigCo was not data knowledgeable, it did not realize that traditional approaches could not work. Two full years into the initiative, BigCo was far from achieving its initial goals. How much more time, money, and effort would be required before results were achieved? Moreover, could the results be achieved in time to support a larger, critical, technology-driven challenge that also depended on solving the data challenges? While these questions remain unaddressed, these considerations increase our collective understanding of data assets as separate from IT projects. Only by reconceiving data as a strategic asset can organizations begin to address these new challenges. Transformation to a data-driven culture requires far more than technology, which remains just one of three required “stool legs” (people and process being the other two). Seven prerequisites to effectively leveraging data are necessary, but insufficient awareness exists in most organizations—hence, the widespread misfires in these areas, especially when attempting to implement the so-called big data initiatives. Refocusing on foundational data management practices is required for all organizations, regardless of their organizational or data strategies.
Interest in reverse engineering is growing as organizations attempt to reengineer existing systems instead of replacing them. When a system is reverse engineered, it is examined, documented, modeled, analyzed, and understood in order to better inform subsequent efforts. Of additional value, the reverse engineering analysis outputs can being reused as a source of enterprise architecture components. Since successful systems reengineering (SR) depends on effective reverse engineering, it (reverse engineering) is viewed as a critical part of SR.
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