The end and not the means

The end and not the means

At Data Modeling Zone Asia Pac a few weeks back, we had a roundtable discussion on rebranding the “data modeler” role. We’ve had discussions on this topic over this past year, and some have made it into blog posts. I feel that the term “data modeler” minimizes what we do. We do so much more than just data modeling, such as enabling the business to understand themselves in a very precise way, creating a great communication tool, facilitating transition from requirements to application, etc.

Someone during this roundtable discussion came out with a very interesting question: Why is our role tied to a “means” and not an “end”? That is, a data model is a means to an end, where that end might be better communication or a more robust application. He brought up an analogy that we don’t call carpenters “nail bangers”. Banging in nails is a means to an end of the carpenter building or repairing a wooden structure.

A good IT name for example is a Security Specialist, why helps keep an organization secure from outside digital attacks. (The end and not the means.) What is a similarly good name for us that reflects the ends and not the means?


  1. Chris Machin 2 years ago

    I think we’re “data communicators/translators”. In very simplistic terms, we go to the people who understand the subject area in business terms, and create a CDM with them. We go to the developers who understand the technical aspects, and we produce a PDM with them. Then we create an LDM that bridges the gap and everyone agrees on! (YMMV)
    In a nutshell, we translate and simplify information from various subject area experts into the universal language of data models.

  2. Sharyn Csanki 2 years ago

    I think I get the problem – data modeling is firstly about communication and just as importantly, how to help an organisation’s data perform at its best. But data modeling is oftern seen as an IT “job”, and some of it is. I tend to agree with Andrew Smailes when he’s talking about the the value of designing data rather than just hoping to find insight in the data you have collected along the way – this is where the multifacted skills of a good data modeler can make a difference. May be the data modeler is the Data Designer of the 21st Century!

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