Malcolm 'Max' DeRungs

Explaining ELMS

Data Governance presentations tend to be wordy, and they can cause an audience to nod off faster than prescription sleep meds. So, to keep program sponsors from yawning through the technical bits of a program platform proposal, I used a tree metaphor for describing platform elements.


The program was called ELMS, short for "Enterprise-Level Metadata System," and it depended on my platform of technical services built from scratch on hardware pirated from abandoned cubicles around the office.

To describe the outcomes of three phases of capital funding, I likened the services to a grove of trees that would start as seedlings and grow into an integrated ecosystem of complex value.


Data Governance has several separate complex problems to solve all at once; hence the several separate platform services. In the first phase, the services would look rather small, but altogether, they would make up a grove that tolerates weeds . . .


But, unlike the multitude of other individual startups scattered across the enterprise field, these upstarts would grow deeper roots for surviving budgetary droughts and taller branches for catching more sunlight . . .


Naturally, as the trees matured, their canopies would merge into a forest that buffers each individual service from the winds of change . . .


Finally, with greater capacity to collect resources and manage complexity, the group fully matures into a monetizable ecosystem . . .


None of the program sponsors fell asleep during the presentation, because only one bothered to show up, and a change in enterprise Information Services leadership razed the Data Governance program to make room for an entirely different agenda.

These platform of services, however, did survive. It attracted the new leadership's attention by quickly proving it could support a mobile-ready, search-based data catalog web application, which would go on to become a cornerstone of the enterprise Information Services pillar.

Role: Graphic Artist

Setting: Providence Health & Services

Location: Portland, Oregon

Year: 2015

Media: Apple Pencil and Fiftythree Paper on iPad Pro