The business takes up data governance

Recent Forrester Research on top trends in EA is encouraging as it affirms that business is starting to recognise the value of some of our key value propositions.

According to their research, leading firms are recognising the importance of data governance to the success of many other initiatives, including master data management. As a result, data governance is reemerging as a key focus for 2012.

The research also shows that data governance, data quality and master data management initiatives require a joint business and IT commitment for success. This is still a lesson that most companies need to learn – but leading companies are now recognising the critical nature of data governance for successful enterprise data and process initiatives to succeed.

In South Africa, Data Governance emerged primarily in the banking industry with a focus on Risk Management. These early attempts have struggled to gain buy in from the broader business – possibly because they were perceived to be too focussed on Risk – to the exclusion of other business areas. Also, these implementations have struggled to show measurable returns due to a lack of investment in Data Quality and Data Governance tools that can support the business community. Unfortunately, spreadsheets and SQL scripts do not enable business users to assess whether data governance is improving enterprise data management.

We have seen a shift in this position in our client base – in banking and other industries.

One of our clients, a global mining company, has deployed Trilium Software’s data profiling technology ( with a few days of skill transfer to the user) to automatically measure and manage data quality affecting their weekly HR reporting. During the course of 2012 they will deploy similar solutions in other areas in support of their data governance strategy.

In financial services we have seen a shift away from a risk centric view towards a data centric view. Our clients are recognising that data that is being used for more that one purpose must be measured against the needs of all key role players – and are using Trillium Discovery to achieve this.

It boils down to a practical application of data governance to address an immediate business need. “We know we have data quality issues that are affecting key business processes. We don’t know what these are so we don’t know where to begin to fix them!”

Simple metrics that support the business, delivered with a tool that can be used by the business, allow the second question to be answered. Business can immediately establish where to focus attention, do root cause analysis, and re-mediate idenitified issues. More importantly, in a tight economy business can prioritise on those areas where they will get the best return by making fact based decisions, rather than guessing where the problem areas are!

This post was originally published in Data Quality Matters blog

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