Business Database Triage

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Business Database Triage

Authored by Frank Oberle

Data Management is one of the few responsibilities of Information Technology for which a solid logical and mathematical foundation exists - a proven foundation of organization, categorization, and data validation techniques with a long history that has formed the underpinning for virtually all of the "hard sciences" over the last few millennia.

Inexplicably, IT groups generally seem to be unaware of, or at least to largely ignore, this scientific foundation. When typical business database designs are contrasted with minimal scientific standards of data organization, it is difficult not to draw the conclusion that the caliber of these designs is rather amateurish - coming uncomfortably close to what might be considered professional negligence in some other fields.

Such design deficiencies represent a significant business risk, the author contends, since commonly used database structures result in far more difficulties for many companies than is generally recognized. These deficiencies severely limit the flexibility and extensibility of business software, impede enhancement efforts, and generally lead to what the author calls "System Constipation." In short, the author argues, we need to take the word "Science" in "Computer Science" more seriously when it comes to our database designs.

This book introduces Business Managers as well as Database Designers to "Database Triage" - the process of recognizing and classifying the often hidden symptoms and ills of business databases, and shows how to take the first steps toward mitigating them. Using an overview of IT's history, the author also explains how and why business databases came to be as poorly designed and illogically constructed as he contends they are.

Unlike the skills required for database construction - which include data modeling, proficiency in SQL, DBMS tuning, etc., those needed for logical database design - such as predicate logic, taxonomic placement, attribute categorization, etc., are noticeably absent from the repertoires of most IT shops. An introduction to these core database design skills is presented in the book, since these are critically important - often more important, the author argues, than application programming skills.

Addressing these long-standing failings will require management understanding, involvement and support as well as some additional technical expertise. To support these objectives, real-world examples are provided to illustrate how commonly occurring database designs impede the smooth conduct and expansion of business, unnecessarily complicate the efforts of application programmers, and often lead to data contamination. The author explains precisely why each of the examples is poorly designed and, to some extent, shows how to correct them - in several cases providing detailed approaches to solutions - while attempting to strike an appropriate balance between the needs of both Business Managers and Database Designers without too much oversimplification of either group's needs.

See for more information and a variety of free Database Design Notes that can be viewed or downloaded.

Publication Date:
0615916937 / 9780615916934
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
7.5" x 9.25"
Black and White with Bleed
Related Categories:
Computers / Data Modeling & Design

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