I like having a great idea, a great vision, and having it come to life. I love even more taking someone else’s vision and helping make it a reality. The best thing though, is taking a good idea that’s been around for a long time, and breathing new life into it. A good example is Walt Disney’s “Snow White.” Walt took a well known story that had been around for hundreds of years, added art and the latest technology to tell his story (animation and the multi-plane camera), and created a box office hit that still does well now, more than 70 years later. Walt also made the current state of animation more compelling.
Flash forward to today, and you can see similarities in software that were in the movie business in the 1930’s. Work is a bit harder to find, people worry about losing their jobs because of the economy, and optimists are recombining ideas to come up with fresh, new opportunities to make money telling stories. This time around, the story is not about a beautiful, trusting princess that believes the deceptions of an old witch. The story is the data. It’s bank’s account information. It’s the hotel’s current status of its guests. It’s the local elementary school’s list of people willing to help it weather funding cutbacks. All this data has what some call “backstory,” the story behind what first meets the eye. Take a college class in economics and you hear backstories all the time. Here’s a quick one:
Financial Crisis, Advantage coders and Users
There’s been a financial crisis. Many banks fail, but not all of them. Everyone knows that part, but here’s a backstory that not everyone hears. One of the banks that survives see the failed banks as baskets of opportunities available for sale at bargain, so it buys a few of its old competitors. Now, the owning bank has moved from managing one group of employees, one group of customers, and one computer system to handling a handful of each. So what’s a CEO to do? She can keep the structure of the acquired banks as is (an option which may have its difficulties, since each bank has differing reports and operates differently), or she can simplify day-to-day operations by tying together the differing information systems of the current and acquired banks to orchestrate the now larger operation. She chooses the latter and hires designers and developers to write software that talks to computer systems of the acquired banks and its own. The new software has tools to better tell the backstories behind the data, the analysis – current trends, the overall health of the bank. It also provides material and a stage for the bank’s storytellers to create new stories, new visions of what is the possible.