Chapters are Done and I'm Thinking About Lettuce


I sent off the chapters of my book that were due today just a few minutes ago and in the aftermath picked up last week's InfoWorld to decompress. I enjoyed Ephriam Schwartz's column on managing massive repositories of product data. He uses an example of a shipment of lettuce having 476 attributes and says:

If you recognize the importance of tracking all of this data, then you probably also realize that, on a good day, a company might only have 15 of those 476 attributes for a shipment of lettuce in its ERP system. The question is, where are the other 461 data points? Relevant data might also exist in supply chain and warehouse management systems, but certainly not all of it.

Faced with this challenge, the job of IT is to assess whether or not a company's current infrastructure can successfully aggregate all of this data into an environment that makes it usable. Also, does IT have the workflow tools that employees will need to develop this information? The answer is probably no.