While the word gets thrown around a lot to describe big companies, the definition of ‘enterprise’, in architecture terms, is ultimately about how you handle your company’s databases and distributed systems. Making the transition to an enterprise-type architecture is basically a decision to rebuild your company’s database infrastructure, and more importantly, the way your people think about information.
Martin Sheen, playing the President in an episode of “The West Wing,” made the statement that “All government can really do is collect money and distribute it.” Oversimplified, maybe, but there’s a lot of truth in that perspective. Similarly, when you strip away the frills, all IT really does is store data and access it.
That, too, is an oversimplification, but one which contains some profound insight. While interfaces, communications, security and other IT concerns have a huge impact on your company’s ability to function, you can fall short in any of these areas and still do business.
Information Is The Business
But how your company’s information is captured, organized, and accessed is the single biggest discriminator of business functionality. In today’s climate, virtually no employee can perform well without solid IT support. Information is our most important tool, our principle strategic concern.
Enterprise showcases this truth. Far more than a buzzword, enterprise is a set of philosophical and operational precepts that redefine the manner in which information is employed in business. It is about much more than software; it’s about re-thinking the role information plays in the day-to-day workings of the company, down to the lowest and most detailed level. And if you’re re-thinking how you use information, you’re re-thinking how you use databases.
In this three-part series, we’ll explore how the foundations of IT must change during the enterprise transition, and the changes that must occur in database design and administration in particular.