The proper management of data is ever more important and complex. Business people must have easy access to data from all over the enterprise, but unguarded access and distribution may enable users to bypass the IT organization’s rules for data management, copy and paste whatever they like into spreadsheets and share it in uncontrolled fashion. Firm control of enterprise data requires policies and practice for governance, yet our benchmark research found that only 12 percent of organizations are innovative in their data governance. Reaching this highest level of maturity is not easy when you have to manage a portfolio of policies and rules that span business units and IT and must take into account people, processes, information and supporting technology. Despite this it is essential to address this data governance need and as I wrote is a 2010 priority (See: “Optimized IT and Focus on Information Technology in 2010“).
The technology available to support data governance has not been much help, as many products address data quality or common definitions with MDM but lack the functionality to implement policies, rules and monitoring across an organization. One vendor that is committed to improving the consistency of data throughout the enterprise is Kalido, which approaches the issue through master data management (MDM). Kalido has announced a new product in this area; Kalido Data Governance Director focuses on three key activities: to manage data policies, integrate governance processes with operations and measure compliance to data policies.
We find that it requires a dedicated application to establish data policies that can operate across all of an enterprise’s business activities and systems. Data policies must be accompanied by measurement capabilities to clarify operational issues and monitor data quality, too. Our research found that for 75 percent of organizations the ability to design and maintain policies and rules is the most important objective of instituting data governance, and the next is to design measures and metrics for data governance itself. Achieving these goals requires a well-defined series of steps that, like any other compliance effort, define, implement and enforce policies consistently. This process should be built into a workflow that not only monitors activities and ensures efficiency of operations but also enables collaboration across business and IT. Such a set of metrics can be used to develop what I call key governance indicators that support management of data across the enterprise. Kalido’s new Data Governance Director has an easy way to define policies and visualize their relationships to processes and systems supporting these needs I have outlined. It also provides analytics that enable data managers to determine how data is being used and whether it conforms to policy.
Effective data governance also can help organizations understand data at its core, which our research found to be the largest concern in 57 percent of organizations managing data across business and IT. They need to understand quality issues intimately to identify specific tasks that can produce improvements. Data Governance Director includes a dashboard that can help provide visibility into issues with data quality; governance, risk and compliance (GRC); and modeling and supporting MDM across business domains in products such as Kalido MDM. Kalido will need to more directly support other vendors’ products like Stibo Systems’ in product information management (PIM) or Oracle’s for cross-enterprise areas to ensure organizations can interoperate more easily. Our research has found that organizations must support specific types of data in their lines of business, such as customer, finance and product; interoperability and integration of data policies for these and others must occur for organizations to improve their quality and usefulness.
While many folks in the industry talk about data governance, our benchmark research among business and IT groups validates Kalido’s efforts. Data governance is a business issue that must be supported by IT so that both sides of the organization can align for the purpose of making data an active asset, not merely a by-product of its operations. Without the right data properly managed, organizations will continue to waste time, increase risk and undermine their business efforts. At the same time organizations must expand data governance to address the rising use of rented applications in cloud computing where data is created and used outside of traditional IT control. New CIO strategies in cloud computing that I have written about (See: “CIO Strategies Require Cloud Computing”) should include data governance or data issues will arise faster than most realize.
If Kalido can market the new offering as supporting business process improvement internally and in the cloud through effective information management practices, it could find an opportunity to capitalize on companies’ data management investments. Organizations should realize they cannot continue to use e-mail, documents and spreadsheets to govern data or one database provider’s administrative tools to manage data flows across all systems in the enterprise. Kalido can make a strong argument that customers need a dedicated application to support data governance and extract full value from this key asset.
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Mark Smith – CEO & EVP Research