Does the metadata organization collaborate with the data steward group? Does the data architecture team collaborate with the operations team? Does the data quality team collaborate with the end-user community? Clearly, these are unfair questions because no one in their right mind would actually admit to not collaborating. Unfortunately, much of what we call collaboration really isn’t. If we are not collaborating, then what are we doing? Well, we might be communicating, cooperating or coordinating our activities.

Communication is simply the transfer or attempt to transfer information from one party to another. Communication may be the attempt to make sense of confusing data or mixed messages throughout the organization. We communicate through email, phone, instant messaging and many other media. Poor communication is still one of the most important problems we have to deal with in large organizations. Peter Drucker described it this way: “In no other area have intelligent men and women worked harder or with greater dedication than psychologists, human relations experts, managers and management students have worked on improving communications in our major institutions. Yet communication has proven as elusive as the Unicorn.”1

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