A recent discussion with an associate regarding a large client proved interesting. The associate was suggesting that the adoption of data ontologies as a means to allow better sharing of data between systems. Whilst this is undoubtedly a sound suggestion, it should be reviewed based on the current state of data and process maturity within the organisation.

The previous day I had visited an outposted site as part of a larger data audit. At this site, due to technical issues, no-one had been able to access one of their key corporate systems for over a year! Whilst this did not stop them undertaking the safety aspects of their role, it did risk central teams being unable to make valid strategic planning decisions as the data they were using was therefore of questionable data quality.

Similarly, using ontologies as an enabler to link systems when you have not resolved key data quality problems risks devaluing and discrediting such an investment.

Moral of the story – only invest in cutting edge technologies when you are sure that your systems and data are fit for this purpose.

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