The Similarities between Mixed Martial Arts Fighters and Information Architects
I have to admit I am a huge and longtime Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fan. Even before MMA became main stream, I have followed and studied traditional martial arts from Tae Kwon Do, Judo, Boxing, Wrestling, and Jujitsu since I was a young lad. Given I hate pain, I am glad I call myself a fan and only a spectator. Modern MMA fighters are extremely talented athletes however their success to win the cage is dependent on having a strong base across different disciplines. They must be good on their feet with effective punches and kicks, have world class level wrestling, jujitsu, and judo on the ground, strong defense techniques all around, and a strong will not to quit.
My other passion of which is a less painful one is helping organizations understand and harness technology and best practices to leverage great data for business success. Believe it or not, there are close similarities between being an effective MMA fighter and a successful information architect. Information architects in today’s modern Big Data/Internet of Things world has to have a mix of knowledge and skills to recommend, design, and implement the right information management solutions for their businesses. This involves having a strong background in database development, data engineering, computer programming, web, security, networking, system administration, development, and other technology competencies to formulate and categorize information into a coherent structure, preferably one that the intended audience can understand quickly, if not inherently, and then easily retrieve the information for which they are searching.
Like successful MMA fighters, Information Architects require training and development of basic building blocks regardless of their “intellectual” and “technical” prowess. Having a strong base allows architects to recommend the right solutions, avoiding ineffective and inefficient methods such as hand coding critical data integration, data governance, and data quality processes that often result in bad data, higher costs, and increased risk of not meeting what the business needs. An MMA fighter with a strong base would leverage those skills to avoid techniques or moves that places themselves at harm or risk of getting knocked out, choked out, or getting an arm broken by their opponent. Instead, like an MMA fighter, well developed architects leverage that base and knowledge to adopt proven technologies for their information architecture and management needs.
The technologies to manage data in the enterprise vary both in performance, functionality, and value. Like MMA fighters competing for a living, it’s important they learn from skilled masters vs. the local martial arts school at your neighborhood strip mall or free YouTube videos recorded by jokers claiming to be a master and hoping that knowledge will help them survive in combat. Similarly, architects must make careful investments and decisions when designing systems to deliver great data. Short cuts and “good enough” tools won’t cut it in today’s data driven world. Great Data only comes by Great Design powered by an intelligent and capable data platform. “Are you Ready to Get it On!”