Since the dawn of mankind, there has been a need to relay messages between people who are unable to communicate directly to exchange information. This has now evolved to an extent that often, the two individuals who effectively communicate, do not even know who the other person is. Basically, the communication has become a product of an indirect relationship based on social and economic norms.
But what has not changed, is the basic building blocks of the communication. There is a medium (channel), language (protocol), and various steps in disseminating the information from one end to the other. Now here is the interesting part: we have done this with messengers, smoke signals, postage mail and electronic mail. There is a common, fundamental set of principles here, that has never changed, and in my humble opinion - never will.
For this reason, I believe that by using a simple set of concepts and their relationships (aka a model), one can and should be able to describe any system of information exchange. This will result in simplification of data management by trivializing the reference framework. My personal preference for such a model would be to reuse the concepts already used in one of the most classical forms of delivering information, specifically - the postal service. You can then apply the framework to any system of information exchange, by identifying how the teams, systems and processes map to the “information postal service”. This will further support the evolution of governance a data quality control practices.
I see this model of comprising of three levels, namely: business contract (relating those who HAVE the information with those who NEED it at an agreement level); Information Services layer, which underly the steps in delivering the data (think mail delivery services); and finally the service management goals, comprising of the parameters, or sensitivities needed to to be managed in order to ensure that the services operate efficiently to deliver the appropriate level of quality.
Other terms that come to mind include: “posting”, “packaging”, “gathering”, “sorting”, “distributing”, “delivering” and “collecting” the data. As I mentioned, what this means in your information exchange system will depend on how you design, configure and run the “system”.
So the next time when you send or receive an e-mail, or post a message on someone’s social media channel, just think for a moment how your information HAVE (or NEED) relates to other forms, formats and volumes of information exchange.
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