A wise man once told me, “There are no automated processes. There are only manual processes that can be automated.” Today, that saying rang very true for me as I tried to model ‘collaboration’ within the context of data processing.
Data processing is a very old term. I am old. Forgive me. For my purpose today, the term and definition seem appropriate. Data processing is processing data and turning it into gold like an old alchemist tries to take lead and turn it into gold.
What I learned today is that data has a negative: ‘no data.’ ‘No data’ is like the silence in between the notes of a song. The interval of silence defines the song as much as the notes.
As I wrestle with the term ‘collaboration,” I have also been wrestling with terms like push and pull and synchronous and asynchronous and real-time. And terms like transformation, integration, and mediation; interface and connection. And that’s when it hit me. Silence. ‘No data.’
I pictured a cave wall painted with no pictures of Mammoths or Saber Tooth Tigers. I pictured a time before language and visual arts. I pictured cavemen silent and brooding in front of their fires. I thought about the times before collaborations in language and pictures.
That’s when knew what ‘collaboration’ meant. It is a chat panel with no chat. It is a blank SMS message. It is the white page of a fax, document, or spreadsheet. It is a video showing Einstein’s chair with no Einstein sitting in it. It is a telephone call with no one on the other side (not even heavy breathing). It is streaming bits and bytes to no one.
Add one person and we have traditional data processing. Data stored persistently. Data created, read, updated and deleted by a person. Data shared singularly; one person at a time. Sometimes, that person grabs data like a cook pulls ingredients off a shelf and pours it into a mixing bowl, stirs it up and creates something brand new. He or she creates a golden data mix. Something new from a scratch or something from Momma’s best recipes. It is the mixing bowl where everything is transformed, mediated, and integrated.
Now add another person. They are in the kitchen with the mixing bowl. They are collaborating on a recipe. They mix data ingredients, logic and rules in the mixing bowl. They invite another friend over to help. The mixing bowl once silent becomes filled with words, language, data, and art. Collaboration is two or more people, with the purpose of creating, turning a space, like a mixing bowl, from what was empty into space that is filled.
Gone are the days of the lonely data entry clerk filing the shelves with ingredients. Gone are the days of the lonely data analyst mixing ingredients all alone in the kitchen. Gone are the days of driving through traffic to the meeting room.
But data processing? No, no, no! Data processing is still here, but now data processing is a team sport.
Next week, we will talk about real-time collaboration versus non-real time collaboration. But my guess is that now, you’ll figure that one out for yourself.
By Don Hutcheson, from: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/modeling-data-cavemen-don-hutcheson?trk=prof-post