Business & Technology Nexus

Dave Stephens on technology and business trends

Why Most Data Striping Techniques Fail

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Many of Coupa’s early customer conversations have included Systems Integrators. And SI’s seem to have a really good view on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to Procurement tools (and enterprise software in general).

One fact that comes up again and again is how hard it is to find a tool that handles data security (often called striping), correctly.

Failure seems to center around applications trying to anticipate usage patterns too much. These systems usually start by taking well-worn concepts such as Project, Cost Center, Organization, Legal Entity, etc, and then hard-wire them to control access to different data objects and transactional records.

The problem is the complexity and variability around data security requirements often means none of the well-worn concepts fit perfectly. So an implementer picks the concept that “doesn’t fit least” and shoe horns it into the implementation. Which in turn drives up TCO, confusion, etc. It’s misfits like these that lead to the incredible questions I would sometimes hear from customers (like this one from a Stanford University employee: “Why am I a vendor and why do I have to buy from myself via a Requisition to pay my expense report”).

A better approach is to try to encapsulate data security as an abstraction to ensure a higher degree of flexibility. Doing this and keeping configuration and maintenance to a minimum is tricky – but in my view it’s the right approach to software that fits like a glove.

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Written by Dave Stephens

08/3/06 2:33 PM at 2:33 pm

Posted in IT, Opinion, Technology

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