Meet MIKE – Methodology for managing Data and its use

This blog got kicked off by the press announcement that Structured Dynamics had donated its Semantic Enterprise Adoption and Solutions, or SEAS, methodology to MIKE 2.0, which stands for Method for an Integrated Knowledge Environment. My guess is that MIKE hasn’t hit your attention yet, but I am going to suggest it might be good to know about it. Why? Because some of the major audit partnerships have decided to get behind MIKE and start to use it to check how well their clients are managing their data. Their interest is not some much as per the origins around Knowledge environments but the wider issue of managing the provenance of data and from that its reliability and fitness for use in various purposes.

First an introduction to MIKE using their own summary taken from their web site http://mike2.openmethodology.org/ ;MIKE2.0 Method for an Integrated Knowledge Environment is an Open Source methodology for Enterprise Information Management that provides a framework for Information Development. The MIKE2.0 Methodology is part of the overall Open Methodology Framework. … (and) … is a collaborative effort to help organisations who have invested heavily in applications and infrastructures, but haven’t focused on the data and information needs of the business. We believe this has resulted in many of the business problems faced by organisations today around compliance, lack of customer insight, failed transformation programmes and the high cost of technology systems.

The concepts behind MIKE date back to a 2003 white paper http://www.cites.org/common/prog/mike/data/Data_Analysis_Strategy.pdf by Messrs R.W. Burn, F.M. Underwood and N.D. Hunter in which they describe MIKE as an ambitious monitoring strategy for complex data environments. Unfortunately they didn’t know how much more complex it was all going to get as simultaneously a new data wave of Web 2.0 would hit as well as regulation in respect of taking ‘ownership’ of data! So their original argument that we needed to understand the role and use of data in respect of its use now has expanded to include other dimensions as well.

Mike Bergman a well respected name in these circles has written a good detailed assessment of MIKE 2.0 on his blog http://www.mkbergman.com/867/mike2-0-open-source-information-development-in-the-enterprise/ complete with some excellent diagrams that make some of the complex concepts clear so I won’t repeat it here. But the big point about all of this is that its not just more data, it’s the forms of data, and what the data is used all of which add to the complications. When MIKE started the view as that we had sound data in databases as a starting point which is true if we limit ourselves to structured data used by computers and associated with applications. Sadly the proliferation of data has mostly been in unstructured data in formats suitable for direct human use.

That’s the point at which the connection comes to the announcement by Structured Dynamics http://www.structureddynamics.com/pr20100301.html , who are known for their work on Semantic data, of making their SEAS methodology part of MIKE 2.0. There was already an allowance in MIKE 2.0 for the inclusion of a Semantic Enterprise Solution capability, but it was pretty light, now SEAS adds 40 semantic resources to this. (by way of a contrast there are some 800 resources in 40 solution areas in the rest of MIKE 2.0). However it also adds another big capability around reasoning of the validity of statements in ‘open’ situations.

In ‘closed’ or some might say normal IT environments where all data sources can be carefully controlled all statements are taken to be false unless explicitly known to be true. However most of this ‘new’ data is from the ‘open’ environment of the web and in semantic data if this is not specifically flagged as true it is categorised as ‘unknown’ rather then false. This single characteristic to me is in many ways the most crucial issue to understand as we go forward into using mixed data sets to support complex ‘business intelligence’ or ‘decision support’ around externally driven events, and situations. Open SEAS brings ‘open’ data management and in MIKE it gets combined with ‘closed’ data management in a clear methodology.

Whether the increasing Governance demands, or Audit Partnerships asking about the topic, drive you there, or not, it stands to reason that these new moves in enterprise data management are something of great interest to look into in more depth. After all we all know we have the problem, we just don’t know how to find a supported approach to dealing with it!


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