Strangely enough I was talking about this with a colleague this very afternoon. My thesis was that data is generated by applications but should be considered independent of them. Treat your data carefully and you have a treasure trove of information that defines your organisation. Take an application centric view of the world and you end up with a load of blobs that are only meaningful in the context of your application code. If you can ever find a way to free your information you can find so many different ways of viewing, interpreting and analysing it.
As I said in a (remarkably brief) presentation that I gave tonight - I'm Andy and I'm a data manager. If I can ever find a way of making a living taking data, turning it into information and making it available in new and interesting ways I guarantee that I will quit my day job in a heartbeat.