At first, I got a kick out of reading this article in CIO Magazine (Australia edition), “Context needed in metadata and data retention debate“. First of all, I find it unique in regards that metadata has become a political debate. For those of us who do understand metadata, and its importance in relationship to context, that the topic has become a political debate is rather startling. But, how many organizations mirror the same situation?
According to the author, Marie Johnson, from CIO:
“There are many worrying aspects of the current political debate in Australia on proposals relating to the retention of metadata. Firstly, there is no clear and consistent statement or explanation of what is actually proposed. This is a concern in a democracy. Secondly, statements from the politicians and senior bureaucrats fronting the media to give an explanation as to what metadata is, demonstrate that they don’t understand it and can’t explain it. Thirdly, the rather embarrassing attempts to explain what metadata is – and what the proposals are – indicate a very significant capability gap in public administration around understanding digital architecture. This is the cause of many other cost and performance issues in government, but in this instance it is manifested in the debate on metadata. “It’s not about content” – is the reassurance that is given – it’s just the metadata, according to prime minster Tony Abbott. This simplistic statement is incorrect, incomplete and misleading on many levels.”
Working with prospects and clients on a day-to-day basis, the issues in the quote are mirrored by almost every organization I speak with. IT gets the connection totally, but often misunderstands the business issues as to what can be solved. The business folks understand the challenges of the business processes and still have yet to understand the importance of metadata, let alone be able to describe it in business terms.
It will be fascinating to see how this unfolds. Kudos to Australia for even attempting to address this topic. Perhaps all of us will learn something along the way.