The Agilist Network

Tales and Tips from Agile Software Projects

System of Record – Revisited (Wait!! Not as boring as it sounds!!)

Posted by kenhoward on June 21, 2007

Last night I took my son to one of those walk-up clinics. He had a sore throat, and the clinic was much more convenient than waiting until today when his Doctor’s office was open. While there, we decided to get his immunizations updated for school. They asked if his Measles shot was up-to-date and I realized that if we were at his regular Doctor, they would know that.

That got me to thinking about the concept of “System of Record”, which is a software term which refers to the ‘official’ version of a piece of information is stored. In the olden days, service providers served as the official system of record of the information related to the services they provided. For example, all information related to your health was available at your doctor’s office; all information related to your auto and property insurance was available from your insurance agent; etc.

In today’s distributed services world, when we shop our services around, who is responsible for maintaining ‘official’ information? I guess it’s us. Maybe it should have been us all along, but honestly, I don’t like recordkeeping and I believe that most people feel the same way about it. So as we shop services around and drop our information all over the place, aren’t we headed toward information management problems? Now my son’s medical record resides in (at least) two places, and both are incomplete.

There may be a business opportunity for “Information Portfolio Management”. I’m not sure what the details may be, but hmmm…. sort of clearinghouse for general purpose information.

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