Defining a problem and finding a solution

Data Maze

As the old saying goes, before you can define a problem you must first realise and accept that you have one. Once you have done this, you’re ready to start defining what it is.

Defining a problem can be an interesting art as sometimes many people end up addressing various symptoms of a problem rather than the actual problem itself. Treating a symptom means that the actual problem itself remains in place and the treatment for the symptom will many times result in further problems down the line.

Consider countless integration projects many years ago where data was required ‘somewhere else’. The most effective way to solve the problem of accessing the data would be to simply access the data directly.

However, a large number of projects did not do this because it was too expensive, too difficult, would take too long or some other excuse and so the data was copied.

So rather than addressing the real problem (access to the data), the symptom of that problem was addressed.

This has resulted in organisations with multiple copies of their data and no single version of the truth, which if the truth were known is costing far more time and money to keep in sync than would ever have been the case if the problem had been solved properly in the first place.

So once the problem is defined, it’s really a case of solving the problem in front of you and instead of finding ways around the problem, it needs to be addressed head on and the most appropriate way to solve the problem found.

‘Appropriate’ in this sense of the word does not necessarily mean the first proposed solution.

Any proposed solution needs to be roundly tested in terms of its potential impact down the road.

In the case of data integration projects, if these projects had just looked one or two years down the road, they could easily have justified the additional expense or time to do address the problem correctly in order to prevent a negative impact on an organisation for years to come.

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Author - John Power - CEO Ostia Solutionslinkedin-badge-for-email



Written by : John Power