Better information systems — VPEC-T (contd.)
So: “Vee-peck-tee” then
This came together for me with a flash of clarity, when I read a book by Nigel Green and Carl Bate called Lost in Translation. They introduce a way of thinking about how businesses use information that they call VPEC-T. It's pronounced Vee-peck-tee. Pretty snappy, huh?
No? Well, they apologize and try to justify the name in the book, but let's just get over it and move on to why the ideas are important.
There is original and very useful thinking underneath the name that I think will change the way information systems are developed over time. I'll go into what it means shortly, but first I'd like to explain why a ‘way of thinking’ could be useful.
Anything but the technology
VPEC-T can be used as a first response guide to handling requests for new information systems or changes to existing ones. Its very significant benefit is that it gets information systems people away from discussions about the technology, and focuses them on the information and everything that surrounds it except the technology. I have too often seen and experienced technology concerns pushing the business needs to one side. The technology comes after VPEC-T.
VPEC-T stands for Values, Policies, Events, Content and Trust. Green and Bate propose this as a framework for thinking about activities involving the exploitation of information in companies:
- Value represents what the company, the users, everyone involved (and that turns out to be important as we'll see later) is looking to gain from an information system.
- Policies are controls that limit how the information is handled. The policies may have internal or external origins.
- Events are things that happen in a business that trigger a chain of actions that lead to the business serving its customers, collecting its income, managing its staff and generally meeting its obligations.
- Content comprises information in any form of message that flows around the business and, where appropriate, outside it.
- Trust is something that can can be an issue almost anywhere, and is proposed by Green and Bate to be considered throughout the investigation and design of an information system.
I hear they are now starting to refer to this as “the 5D lens”. Something like this, perhaps?
The 5D lens ⇒