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June 1989

June 1, 1989 12:00 Noon



We want your input!

The IPMA Newsletter staff is looking for articles of specific interest to our State information processing community.

Send your drafts to:
IPMA Newsletter Editor
P.O. Box 915
Olympia, WA 98507-0915

Monthly Association Meeting

AGENDA May 4, 1989

  1. Introduction of Guests
  2. Guest Speaker:
    Steve Anderson
    Executive Information System,
    Department of Social & Health Services
    "Managing Mainframe End-User Computing at DSHS"
  3. IPMA Board Report
  4. ISB Announcements
  5. Old Business
  6. New Business
  7. Correspondence
  8. Other Comments/Announcements
  9. Adjournment

The IPMA Newsletter is published monthly except during August.

Please submit materials for inclusion in the next month's Newsletter no later than the second Friday of the preceding month.

Articles concerning both Information Processing and Management, and announcements of interest to the general membership are accepted in the following formats:

Microsoft WORD
ASCII text

Contact the Newsletter Editor for additional format options:

IPMA Newsletter Editor
P.O. Box 915
Olympia, WA 98507-0915

Chairman's Message

IPMA Leadership Changes

"As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honour and praise. The next, the people fear, and the next the people hate. When the best leader’s work is done, the people say, 'we did it ourselves!'" Lao-Tzu

In just a few days I will be stepping aside so that a new IPMA Chairman can take over. Reading the quote from Lao-Tzu had particular significance for me. Nearly a year has passed since I accepted the challenges of this position and now the time has come to say good-bye and sit back in the old easy chair to reflect on the things accomplished by this years’ Board of Directors.

It has indeed been my pleasure to serve you and to work with the other members of the Board. My special thanks to Darrel Riffe, Jim Andersen, Marge Shavlik, Phil Coates, Tom Reslock, Will Wolf, Jeff Boyce, Kathy Marston, and Gary Longmire. They did a terrific job and I owe them my gratitude.

Though I cannot possibly name all of you here, I wish to thank those of you who helped on the many IPMA projects this past year. Events like FORUM, Executive Conference, monthly luncheon meetings, and professional development programs simply would not have happened without your help.

You make it happen this past year and I hope you will keep the faith and put your energies behind the incoming Board of Directors so that IPMA can have yet another exciting and successful year.

With kindest regards and best wishes.


N.A. "Butch" Stussy
IPMA Board of Directors

Perceiving Data As A Resource

Michael Brackett, Department of Information Services

Managing data as a resource is a new concept to many people and requires a change in established perceptions about data, people, and business activities. Changing perceptions is often difficult because it means viewing something familiar in a totally different way. Changing perceptions about data means viewing data as a resource that is managed separate from, and on a peer level with, the management of business activities and people.

One way to change established perceptions is to provide an analogy that is familiar to people, and use it to present a different view. Changes in perceptions about building construction will be used as an example.

When people first began constructing buildings they obtained materials and began construction with litfie planning. The size and shape of a building was determined as It was built and often depended on the materials available. If more materials were needed they were obtained, and if materials were not available the size or shape of the building was altered to match the materials available.

Eventually, people began to realize that a plan was needed before materials were obtained and a building was constructed. This realization required a change in perception about constructing buildings. A plan was developed based on the occupant’s needs and was used to obtain materials. If the materials were not available or the occupant’s needs changed, the plan was altered accordingly. When the plan was finished it was used to obtain the required materials and construct the building.

Many of these buildings had structural and safety problems. They collapsed, burned, decayed, exploded. etc., often causing injury or loss of life. Isolated attempts were made to make buildings safer, but there was no real incentive for better buildings and building construction was not materially changed.

Forward thinking people had a vision of safer buildings, fewer disasters, and reduced injury and death. This vision was achieved by changing perceptions about building construction and developing building codes that assured proper design and construction of buildings. These building codes became standard and all designers and contractors were required to follow those codes. The result was safer buildings and fewer disasters.

These initial building codes were not complete and could not predict new construction techniques or new building materials. As construction techniques and building materials changed, and as disasters were analyzed, the building codes were revised to assure continued building improvement and safety. The building codes In existence today are a result of years of analysis and revision, and are producing better buildings.

The same pattern of change Is emerging for data. Originally, data were collected and stored based on an application’s need, not unlike the way building materials were used to construct buildings. Changes in an application’s needs resulted in additional data being collected and stored according to how they were used by an application. Some people began developing plans for their data and began designing databases, not unlike the way buildings were initially planned.

This approach to developing databases based on application needs has resulted in the data problems found in many enterprises today, not unlike the problems found In early building construction. Data are not properly structured, named, or defined, and are often stored redundantly and inconsistently. Although this situation does not result in injury or loss of life as the poor construction of buildings did, It results in limited data sharing, lower productivity, poor business decisions, and wrong business actions. The financial impact Is considerable.

A new vision of managing data as a resource on the peer basis with the management of business activities and people can resolve these data problems. This vision can be achieved by changing the perceptions about managing data and developing standards for design and construction of a data resource the same way that building codes provide standards for the design and construction of buildings. These data resource standards and the business needs of an enterprise are used to develop a plan for the construction of a data resource that will support the business activities of that enterprise.

Like the initial building codes, these data resource standards will not be complete the first time. They will constantly be revised as perceptions change, knowledge about data resource management evolves, and data resource problems are analyzed. In addition, changing business needs and the availability of new techniques and products present a constantly changing environment that requires revision of the data resource standards.

To properly manage data as a resource, data must be perceived as a separate resource that is managed on a peer level with business activities and people. Standards must be established for design, and development of the data resource and must be constantly reviewed and revised to maintain a stable data resource that will support the changing data needs of an enterprise. The initial costs are higher for implementing new data resource standards, as they were for implementing new building codes. However, these higher costs are offset by increased productivity, improved sharing of common data, more informed business decisions, and appropriate business actions.

A project is currently underway to develop data resource standards for the State. A Data Management Advisory Committee of 23 people representing 20 State agencies, the IPMA, and the counties has been established to develop these standards. The initial set of standards will be available in July, and will constantly be reviewed and revised until the State’s data are managed as a resource and asset of the State.


Our apologies to the members of the FORUM ‘89 committee whose names were inadvertently misspelled in the FORUM ‘89 UPDATE article in the April IPMA Newsletter. The corrected names are:
     Adrienne L. Sanders, L&I
     Ruben L. Mahan, DIS
The committee approved up to 26 vendor displays for 1989 FORUM. Invitations to participate will be mailed on 1 June.

This will be the 10th FORUM! And, It coincides with the State Centennial. A special celebration of these events is being prepared.


FORUM ‘89 — NEW AGE TRENDS: The Next Decade
October 31 & November 1, 1989
Tyee Hotel, Olympia, WA

Position Announcement

The Washington State Department of Ecology is currently seeking well qualified candidates to be considered for the vacant position of INFORMATION SYSTEMS MANAGER 3.

Location: Lacey, Washington

Reports to: Mike Reed, Asst. Director, Quality Control, Information Management and Comprehensive Planning Program

Salary: Range 64 ($37,956-48,588)

Scope of job: Principal manager of the agency-wide information systems program, responsible for planning, development, and implementation of the information resource management planning process.

Desirable Qualifications: A Bachelor’s degree in computer science, business administration, mathematics, engineering, or closely allied field, plus two years of managerial experience in a data processing environment. Special consideration will be given to those candidates possessing experience in information resource management planning.

For more information, contact:
Ecology Personnel Office
Department of Ecology
4224 6th Avenue
MS: PV-11
Lacey, WA 98504
(206)459-6217 or SCAN 585-6217

Application Deadline: Received or postmarked by June 14, 1989


June 8-9
4th Annual Rocky Mountain Conference on Artificial Intelligence
Denver, Cob. Contact James Alexander Program Chairman, Member Technical Staff, US WEST Advanced Technologies, 6200 5. Quebec, Ste. 320, Englewood, CO 80207

July 17-21
MIT Special Summer Session: Parallel Algorithms and Architecture
Cambridge, Mass. Contact MIT Summer Session Office, Room El 9-3 56, Cambridge, MA 02139; (617)253-2101

August 6-11
3rd International Fuzzy Systems Association (IFSA) World Congress
Seattle, Wash. Sponsor: IFSA, Contact Jim Bezdek, Boeing Electronics, P.O. Box 24969, MS 7J-24, Seattle, WA 98124-6269; (206) 865-3050.

September 11-12
7th Annual Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference
Portland, Ore. Contact Conference Managers, Lawrence & Craig, Inc., 320 S.W. Stark, Room 411, Portland, OR 97204; (503) 222-2606.