Twenty years ago, when I started working as a consultant with the Oracle Corporation, I learned a particular style of data modeling. I had done database design for many years before that, and often illustrated my designs with drawings. The particular flavor of modeling I learned at Oracle, however, was very different. For the first time, I was modeling the structure—the language—of a company, not just the structure of a database. How does the organization understand itself and how can I represent that so that we can discuss the information requirements?

Thanks to this approach, I was able to go into a company in an industry about which I had little or no previous knowledge and, very quickly, to understand the underlying ...

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