Single Version of the Truth? An online battle of wit and knowledge sharing for those interested in Data Quality (who wouldn't be interested?)...

In the spirit of good fun and knowledge sharing, three of my favorite Data Quality WebCelebs (I thought perhaps I just coined a new term, but after googling I realized I'm not quite that clever) have decided to have a battle of the pen (well, keyboard) to determine who could write a better blog entry on the "Single version of the Truth".

First off is Henrik L Sørensen's entry titled "Sharing data is key to a single version of the truth". This short-but-sweet entry uses a fantastic map analogy to back up what can be best summed up by his thesis sentence: "there is a break even point when including more and more purposes where it will be less cumbersome to reflect the real world object rather than trying to align all known purposes.". He's got a very valid point and as practitioners of Data Management really need to think through the "how far should we go" concept. Very, very thought provocative.

Second out of the gate we find Charles Blyth out of the UK posting a very witty (with very nice icon's - what else should we expect from someone out of the UK?) titled "Tell me the Truth!". The part I like most about Charles' posting is that it gives practitioners hints as to how they might approach this (ie. asking questions such as "Is there any ambiguity in this definition?"). If your getting into a MDM project and need to look out to the market place to ask questions or find someone who is succeeding in delivering on this holy grail, I'd strongly recommend reading Charles' posting and then head start reading his older ones as well.

Last but not least we have a posting called "Beyond a “Single Version of the Truth”" by Jim Harris - proprietor of the OCDQBlog. Typically I despise when folks "name drop", but Jim Harris wasn't going down without a fight on this one and references Einstein, Obi-Wan, Mad Max, Thomas Redman - VERY impressive. In all seriousness, I think Redman hit the nail on the head (as does Jim by culling it out of the book) when stating "A fiendishly attractive concept is...'a single version of the truth'...the logic is compelling...unfortunately, there is no single version of the truth. For all important data, there are...too many uses, too many viewpoints, and too much nuance for a single version to have any hope of success. This does not imply malfeasance on anyone's part; it is simply a fact of life." After quoting Redman, Jim goes on to getting beyond the "single version of truth" (by using a Mad-Max analogy).

As a practitioner of all things data (architecture/design/development, administration, governance and quality, etc.) I enjoyed this wonderful challenge very much. I found Henrik Sørensen's posting to very much stimulate deep thought on the topic. Charles Blythe's posting gave me the feeling that a Single Version of the truth can really be accomplished if only because folks like Charles have really done it and are getting it done today with today's tools and processes that are well documented.

The "getting beyond" portion of Jim's posting however is probably the part that sold me on Jim Harris' posting as the winner of this fantastic battle royal. As practitioners, we have to get beyond the "single version of the truth". I'm not confident that folks outside our Data Geek Club really understand this slogan and it's one one of our primary "marketing" terms. If we focus on the "what's next" after the single version of the truth such as the benefits of "better" data I'm confident this industry is going to take off like a rocket.

Thanks again to the three of you for taking your time to share your knowledge with us, we really do appreciate it.

Until next time...Rich

p.s. After voting, here are the current counts


Anonymous said…
Excellent post Rich,

Thanks for providing a summary of the core "arguments" from all three entries in our "blog battle."

Our hope was to stimulate discussion and debate and I greatly appreciate you taking the time to contribute your perceptive.

Best Regards,


P.S. Despite what Henrik and Charles say, I think that you did a great job voting ;-)
Charles Blyth said…

Thanks for joining in the debate, as Jim says our goal was to stimulate discussion.

Thank you also for your kind words.

BTW I mentioned Galileo, surely he trumps Einstein, without him you wouldn't have knowledge of space, and hence SCI-FI, and all the folk Jim loves to mention :)


Rich said…
Jim/Charles/Henrik - you guys are good sports and thanks for the comments...Rich
Thanks Rich

Never mind the voting (losers always say that).

I’m really glad that you have taken time reading, thinking and responding.

All the best


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