The Intelligent Data Management Blog

Impermanence in Data Management

I was reading Jim Harris' blog about the Requirement Flux challenge. Jim described this challenge as "when business requirements change so much while waiting for the delivery of a solution that when the solution arrives it no longer solves a problem that the business has."

While reading this, I remembered a concept considered by the Buddhists as one of the three marks of existence. It is called Impermanence (a.k.a. Annica).

This concept exists in all civilizations. For example, Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 535 BC - 475 BC) wrote:

Everything flows, nothing stands still.

This notion of impermanence, or constant change must be at the root of data governance and data management initiatives, for two reasons:

  1. Data Changes. This may sound obvious. But there are considerations linked with this obvious statement: Can we stand the volume of changes? What is the latency/overhead induced? What are the possible quality issues? Can we track the origin of the changes?
  2. Governance Decisions Change. This one is less obvious, but is not less real. The Data Governance Office will always come up with something new. The world changes, forcing changes into the business. As the business evolves, the data governance requirements change and these changes need to be implemented.

When selecting and/or designing a data management solution, you must acknowledge this challenge of life. Explain it with Impermanence or Requirement Flux. I personally use the famous maxim from François de La Rochefoucauld's (1613-1680):

The only thing constant in life is change.

Semarchy has an approach to this challenge, called Evolutionary MDM™. What about you?