Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Data Governance & BI . . .

Data Governance has been a rising concept for the past 20 years - or more. In recent years, however, it has reached a new high as the key ingredient to efforts such as implementating Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, decreasing overall IT spend and successfull M&A strategies.

But, how did this come to pass? Well, obviously, there was a big push by SAP, Siebel, Oracle and the like. However, I find that most companies start looking at Data Governance because their reporting is off. Once again, it all "starts" with Business Intelligence. It doesn't "end" there. When the reports are off, the BI folks have to scramble to figure out why. Almost always, it comes down to the source data and more often than not, it's the master data that's not being managed correctly.

But before you jump to conclusions, let's make one thing clear. This is NOT a technology problem. This IS a Data Governance problem. Let me restate that, this is a BUSINESS issue.

I can hear you now, "OK, Ike, I'll bite. What is Data Governance?" We'll, I'm glad you asked. It's many things to many people, however, the definition I came up with is both relevant and simple.
"Data Governance is the formal process of managing data assets within an organization."

That's it? Yup. That's it.

Obviously, it requires technology, process and people as does everything to do with business today. But at it's core, that's about all there is. But it's not as simple as it first appears. Let's really take a look at it. The most important part is the word "formal." A formal program is what sets Data Goverance apart from simple data management. By putting policy and procedure around our data management program (assuming we have one) we create the foundation for a Governance program. When we tie it to corporate and IT strategy, we've completed the loop and we're well on our way to Data Governance proper.

For the next few posts, I will be focusing on Data Governance and it's role in an organization (large or small). I will be describing the advantages of implementing data governance at various levels of the organization and I will walk you through the process of improving your business through data governance.

One of the key issues I will address is elevating the discussions of BI and Data Governance from the IT break room to the more appropriate corporate leadership conference room. In this disucssion, I will show you why data governance often fails to reach its true potential and why executives seem to "ignore" the topic. I will also show you - my executive readers - why lack of proper Data Governance may be the real reason you can't sleep at night.

Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing from you as we move through this very important topic.

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