If Data Is Your Currency…

Then why do enterprises insist on trying to create their own banks (data centers)?

I have been thinking a while about on-premises data centers vs cloud data centers, and this analogy came to mind…

We trust our money with banks, financial institutions.. Instead of keeping our money at home in a safe or mattress. Yes some people have safes with valuables but I’m guessing they don’t direct deposit their paycheck to their safe. People also use the bank safety deposit boxes for valuables – usually the most important things like passports, birth certs, etc!

Why do we try to make our own data centers? Host our servers and apps? Shouldn’t we trust the banks (cloud providers)? Microsoft, Amazon, Google etc? I think we should.

I think if we step back and think about it we wouldn’t be trying to recreate banks when there are banks out there. My guess is back when banks were starting out, maybe the safe makers and maintenance guys didn’t want it to happen? Or maybe they figured out how to make better safes in banks instead of houses.

Photo Credit: Myself on a bike ride last week.

Business Intelligence

Blaming the Waitress

Most people have probably done this at least once in their lives.. You go to a restaurant and order a meal. The waitress is nice, comes over, gets your drinks, takes your order, checks up on you, refills, what not, brings out the meal, and woah, something is wrong, it is cold, bad, just something. But what do you end up doing? Getting mad and blaming the waitress. You might not give her any tip at the end of the meal, because you are mad about the mishap with the food.

But then you start to think about it, and you look back and realize that hey, it wasn’t the waitress who caused the issue, it was probably the cooks! But you are already driving home and don’t really do anything about it.

People like to cast blame, even that might not be the right phrase, but people like to *call out* the group on the front lines (note: in most cases. For instance in the military campaigns, when one side loses, people blame the generals and commanders, etc, not the privates on the front lines, and rightfully so).

In Business Intelligence, you are usually the “front line” to the business when it comes to reporting information and data. One of the roles of BI is to “deliver information to the business”. But then what happens when something is wrong with that information? People immediately blame the Business Intelligence group. It just seems to be human nature, just like blaming the waitress.

Now, don’t get me wrong, sometimes the problem might reside with the waitress, and then you would call her out on things, but you need to realize, your tip just doesn’t go to her. It gets split between her, the cook, the bus boys, the greeters, etc.

I hate playing any part of the “blame game”, but sometimes people should think through what they are actually “blaming” and make sure it just isn’t calling out the front lines because that is what is easiest.

I’m not sure that Business Intelligence will ever fully get around taking most of the up front hits when something goes wrong with data, or with a reporting server, or with anything that might be outside of its control, but what Business Intelligence groups should strive for is to be accountable for things within its control, such as finding problems before the business does, handling data integrity issues with ease, making ETL’s more fault tolerant, getting and handling server alerts for jobs and processes that it is in charge of, etc, etc.

Just try to remember the next time your food is cold at the restaurant, try not to blame the waitress 🙂