During the course of my 24 years in the world of data architecture, I have witnessed a definite decline in people's understanding of what data architecture is and why it's important. This spells trouble for companies in the long run – not just because everyone increasingly relies on information, but also because business value and competitive advantage are created from that information. If you don't have the data architecture right, it's hard to get anything else right.

In this column, I want to discuss the scope of data architecture. In subsequent columns I will address planning and design issues that the data architect is expected to solve.

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