Data Governance the flavour of DAMA South Africa Conference 2015

dama conference 2015Data governance was a recurring topic at the 2015 DAMA South Africa Conference, held in July in Midrand.

With the event offering multiple competing streams we had to choose between, in many cases, local experiences versus those of the international speakers.  I focussed on data governance related talks myself – in particular on the real experiences of South African corporate speakers such as Telkom South Africa’s Komalin Chetty and Standard Bank of South Africa’s Dumisani Mthimkulu

The Telkom journey illustrates the complexity of establishing data governance within a large corporate.  It has taken five years to really begin to establish data governance at Telkom, and the journey is not complete.  However, at Telkom the groundwork has been done to establish data governance as an enterprise initiative – whatever challenges may still remain.

Dumisani’s talk, on the other hand, discussed metadata management from a more tactical perspective. In their case, metadata management achieved prominence based on a regulatory penalty that was accrued due to the bank’s inability to show the lineage for critical risk reports.

Dumisani’s passion for metadata is shared by his co-presenter, my old friend, and colleague, Noeleen Clements. Between them, Dumi and Noeleen gave some good examples of why metadata management is so important, and the role it plays in supporting data governance.  The challenge for Dumisani and his team is embedding this principles strategically – the journey continues.

On the Tuesday morning I split my time between two of the international speaker’s workshops. Mike Jenning’s gave a good account of the data governance journey at Walmart, while Jan Henderyckx entertained with his account of Keeping your CDO in his seat.

One thing is clear – while international speakers can bring some variety and a different perspective, our local experts also know their stuff. Data governance is no longer an emerging discipline and those of us who have done this a few times have had very similar experience and learned vary similar lessons to the international experts.

Being one of the final speakers at an event with so many similar topics is always a challenge. I trust that my audience gained something from my talk which was titled – Moving from Passive to Active Data Governance.

Dumisani’s experience highlighted the typical passive approach to data governance.

Wait for a problem to occur and then apply the governance activities to resolve it. In this model, data governance is siloed – it may well be owned by IT – and solutions are tactical in that they are often geared towards a specific problem only.

Active data governance looks at the strategic picture. What are the potential risks that may arise due to poor data management practises and what actions should be taken in order to prevent them?

Check back next week for more on this subject.

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