For years, two environments have grown up side by side - the unstructured environment and the structured environment. The unstructured environment is filled with informal systems built on e-mail, spreadsheets, texts and reports. The structured environment is formal and is filled with transactions, databases and operating systems. Important business of the corporation occurs in both places. However, these worlds might as well be as far apart as Peiking, China, and Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

In years past, the practitioners of the structured world learned about the evils of stovepipe systems. With stovepipe systems, there was no integration of data across the corporation. There was no foundation of reusable data. There was no historical data, to any great extent. In short, stovepipe systems caused more long-term grief to the IT department than the Y2K problem ever did.

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