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November 06, 2006



Finally - someone has defined my business role to a "T" - I'm an informationist.

Sarcasm aside, Chuck is exactly right. The world needs more informationist(s). I deal all day with "clients" that are experts at bits and pieces of their ILM strategy; backup experts, file-systems experts, archive experts. Don't get me wrong, these folks are essential cogs.

But I rarely meet a visionary leader that truly understands not just the tools and the (agonizing) protection process but the implications of cradle-to-grave data management. True, most IT leaders still spend their time fire fighting, but you'll need to head to MY blog to read more about that. (Thanks Chuck for the free link - http://backupwizard.typepad.com )

We need more informationist in this world!

Ed Teune

Yes, modern businesses definitely need informationists.
And I think many people with the right vision see this either in their own IT organization or in their customers' IT organizations.
But few of them see this role as a "need to have". Most see it as "nice to have" and therefore just never makes it into the budget or the job descriptions of the right people.
Chuck, my question back to you is this: do you try to convince your customers during the EMC sales cycle that this is a "need to have" role and how do EMC's products and services help enable such a role in your customers' IT organizations? How do you sell such an idea and how do you implement it at EMC? As a Presales Solutions Architect working in the software and IT services sector, that is what I would really love to hear about in your blog.


Ed Teune

Chuck Hollis

Hi Ed -- great questions!

I've been arguing that it's more of a mindset rather than an official role -- we all have to increase our sensitivity and awareness around the importance of information -- how it can be used to make money, save money or stay out of trouble.

Perhaps the best analogy I can offer is how we think about money in a corporate environment. Even though we have people with designated roles to understand budgets, finance, accounting, etc. -- we all are expected to have a basic understanding of how money needs to be handled in a corporate environment.

Over time, the concept of "informationist" has evolved to an even bigger challenge -- how do we establish a new discipline of information governance in the enterprise?

Yes, it's great that we all can get the informationist mindset, but EMC would argue that there's a key corporate function missing -- a centralized board with cross-functional representation to hammer through basic policies and measurement.

In most enterprises, it's pretty clear who owns the money. But who owns the information, and has responsibility for all of its aspects?

Thanks for the questions!

Ed Teune

Hi Chuck,
thanks for the speedy response, and these are great ideas!

I guess I would like a bit more insight in how the rubber meets the road and how these ideas can be applied in an organization.
For example, how does EMC implement them both internally and externally with its customers?

I hope that is ok to ask. I am very interested in these concepts and have had opportunity to address them in previous positions that I have held and would like some insight into how EMC does it.
And if you have any insights into the sales side of things at EMC, even better! (since that is my current position)



Stephen Ashley

I have always liked this post, interesting to see it is still generating discussion.

I agree with Ed that in many organisations such a person probably should sit in IT, but they often don't exist as managing information is secondary to managing infrastructure and a desktop environment. Even where a data or information management role exists they are often seen as low level technical people not business people

My take on the Informationist is someone who bridges the gap between the business and technology (not necessarily IT). They understand their companies' specific business, its goals, its objectives and key processes and understand and articulate what information and infrastructure is required to enable those processes. Someone who enables the value in the information, while understand the business and regulatory requirements to manage risk and cost.

Happy to have a conversation on the ways you might implement these ideas

Chuck Hollis

Wow -- to have a post from 2006 unearthed and re-examined, it's a bit like intellectual archeology!

I think I'm going to revisit this topic, since a lot has happend in the few years since I first wrote this.

Thanks for commenting, folks!

-- Chuck


intellectual archeology, lol. Dude, I love when older posts get commented on. Why? I always forget what the heck was written about, or a specific thing I wanted to learn more about, and then it all gets shoved in my face when someone drops an old comment!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not ever buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.
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