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RE: [xml-dev] [Summary] Should Subject Matter Experts Determine XML Data Implementations?

In my experience designing ontologies for different groups, one thing that I find keeps cropping up is that SMEs tend to create data structures that most closely approximate their understanding of a subject, not necessarily that provides the most optimal representation of that data model.  
My experience is complementary: I usually find that different business people have different perspectives on the information, and your job as data architect is to moderate / facilitate dialogue / knock heads together.
My first ever XML job was to design some application-interchange messages for a cable TV company. Not seen by them as a data architecture job let alone a business consultancy job; but within a couple of days I was moderating an animated discussion between people from different divisions of the company about whether or not their business plan included selling to hotels or not. So: never assume that anyone you are talking to has the whole picture.
In this particular company the business people were much more inclined to think in terms of business processes than information assets, so the business process tended to be the starting point. But they were a lot more interested in processes that were useful to the business, like installing new customers, than into "grudge processes" like disconnecting ex-customers. When you started discussing how things like that were supposed to work, they would quickly lose interest and say "just make it happen".
Michael Kay

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