The Role of the Data Architect

I want in today’s blog to look at the role of the data architect. It’s an interesting question and one that, in my opinion, perplexes many people. Often the data architect is seen as just a more senior and experienced data modeller. Yes a data architect should be able to understand and develop data models but there are many people on a company’s development staff that will be able to do an adequate job at this as well. I have outlined below my definition of the role of the data architect.

The role of the Enterprise Data Architect is to expand the company’s use of data as a strategic enabler of corporate goals and objectives. To be able to fulfil this role requires an individual who has a unique blend of technical, managerial and visionary abilities. This fits with the nature of the challenges they face on a day to day basis, such as:

  1. Disparate and Fragmented Data; data within the enterprise is normally disjointed and overlapping. It is inconsistently named, poorly defined, improperly structured and badly documented.
  2. The complexity of data; it is estimates that over 80% of business information is unstructured.
  3. Data Volumes; Data volumes are increasing exponentially, so much so that we have invented new words to describe these volumes – Kilo, Mega, Giga, Tera, Peta, Exa, Zetta and Yotta. These volumes bring with them usability, design and technology challenges.
  4. Redundant data; Estimates put this at 10 times
  5. Technology trends; the performance of electronic devices doubles every 18-24 months
  6. Business trends; Businesses need to be agile and informed. Lack of information is not an acceptable option as it means that the organisation will stagnate at best or worst go out of business.

Actual skills required includes all the obvious such as data modelling but also covers softer skills such as data governance, project management, business analysis and well as being quite a capable politian.

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