Denial of access explained

The week before last, I told about the young data analyst who got the door slammed in his data-seeking face, and I asked “why?” This week, a veteran of the data business answered.

He has spent decades at a large company that produces data solutions of all kinds. I’ve known him for two years, mostly as a voice for the technical side of the house.

The obvious answer is that the IT guy in that story is afraid of giving away the jewels. But that can’t be all there is to it, and my IT whisperer explained.

“IT only lives as long as the business side perceives that they have more knowledge,” he said from Texas this weekend. “If the business side thought they could run the systems without IT, [IT] would be out of there and replaced by mamoo [one’s favorite pet]. What dollar did IT ever put in the business’s pocket?”

Not even data quality is safe for IT. My source knows a president of a small software-and-services company who told him this summer, “I’m the only one who really cares about data quality. I’m the only one who needs to have all the data hang together. Everyone else is in their own little cubbyhole.” His job is to email others when the data doesn’t all sync together.

We’ll always need data mechanics, of course, just as car owners need people who align wheels and rebuild engines. The difference between now and 100 years ago is that mechanics are now part of the team. So it’ll be in BI.

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