I have been pondering over the past couple of months the use of the word Ecosystem as it relates to Data. I have been trying as part of the reference architecture development to come up with non-technical words that describe source to business intelligence and at one time was thinking of ecosystem. In the process, I extrapolated to IT and then the overall business. To start with let’s grab a definition of the word.
Ecosystem (from Websters) – the complex of a community and its environment functioning as an
ecological unit in nature
The value of the definition in this context is it highlights the word community, environment working together. This is why I started to move outside of just data to look at the larger community or stakeholders.
In my data example the various organisms involved are source data, data integration, centralized data, specialized data, views and then business intelligence working together to create an ecosystem. But really that is just one portion of the environment and not the whole community. Now add the users whether IT or the business. These layer on more members of the overall community to create the full ecosystem.
The question is… is it wrong to break an ecosystem into the smaller special interest ecosystems that in and of themselves form the community. I don’t think so, but this does lead to the possibility that this is a "non-word" that leaves more left unknown and to personal interpretation than to clarity. What do you think?