Companies now face a tug of war with data and must use Data Governance to address this conflict. On the one hand, data needs to be controlled: governments, regulatory bodies, and customers require compliance with trustworthy and secure data, partly to avoid damaging data leaks or breaches. On the other hand, data should be accessible to drive business value. Data Scientists, analysts, and data citizens want to get their hands into data towards increasing revenue, opening new markets, and leveraging existing capabilities. Given these two competing requirements, to control and enable information supply, how can enterprises make data a strategic asset?
Here enters Stijn “Stan” Christiaens, Co-founder and CTO at Collibra, an organization established to understand and solve the complex problem of how can enterprises meaningfully leverage data to transform their businesses? Stan has an engineering and AI background, and performed research on Semantic Technology that helped launch Collibra in 2008. Collibra has been strongly focused on Data Governance since the early days and has been considered the market leader for years.
“Data Governance certainly wasn’t an easy sell when we founded the company now almost a decade ago,” said Stan in a recent DATAVERSITY® interview. “People weren’t as ready for Data Governance message as they are now, or have been the past four or five years.”
Innovation in Data Governance
Collibra’s focus on Data Governance makes it a pioneer in this space. Gartner, in its new April 2017 Market Guide for Information Stewardship Applications, attests that Collibra meets the full spectrum of Information Stewardship requirements in eight out of eight offerings. Collibra’s capabilities include Information Modeling, Data Quality monitoring and profiling, Business Glossary development and usage, Data Analytics, workflow/exception management, business rules and policy management, pre-loaded templates, organizational memory, and interoperability.
“From my point of view,” said Stan. “Data Governance is both the control and enablement of any and all Data Management activities.” Collibra’s expertise could not have come at a better time; the last five or six years Data Governance requirements have only increased and will continue long into the future, remarked Stan.
According to the Gartner Market Guide:
“The critical need for information governance enforcement is driving a growing market for packaged information stewardship solutions that support it, data and analytics leaders must assess the capabilities that these solutions offer in order to select vendors that will best suit their needs.“
For companies who have not previously been ready for Data Governance in the past, said Stan, they are now becoming ever more aware of its necessity in the Data Management world today. Even digital non-native companies like John Deere and GE recognize Big Data as an investment asset necessary for adaptation to their markets. Collibra helps organizations across the world maximize their data’s value throughout the enterprise, gaining a competitive advantage.
Control and Enablement of Data Activity
Stan noted that:
“Many companies mistakenly tend to associate Data Governance only with regulations and laws. So, they focus on trying to control data rather than figuring out how to support the business.
In the meantime, these types of organizations, forget that Data Scientists need access to data to do sandboxing, gain insight, collaborate, and do their jobs. Collibra considers both control and enablement of data activity in its Data Governance solutions.
For the Chief Data Officer (CDO), said Stan:
“Collibra provides a system, a set of Data Governance tools to run the organization and manage processes and people. This allows the CDO more time to build his or her team, assign responsibility, set up processes, establish metrics, and distribute information about these processes to the rest of his or her company.”
This type of leadership role is on the rise. It has been predicted that 50 percent of all companies in regulated industries will have a CDO by the end of 2017. CDOs in large organizations are expected to increase to 90 percent by 2019.
These newly administered CDOs, along with the existing ones, need horizontal coverage of Data Governance and Data Stewardship. Collibra’s solutions does this, noted Stan, providing CDOs a platform or a set of applications to manage their people, drive outcomes, and change processes.
Collibra’s solution covers many use cases, not just those in the CDO’s context though. For example, as the Data Scientist, BI Analyst, or LOB Manager tries to find and share data, the experience becomes analogous to shopping for a pair of shoes a garage sale or flea market remarked Stan: time consuming and exasperating. Data Scientists spend 60 percent of their time on cleaning and organizing Big Data, and around 80 percent of their time on preparing and managing Big Data for analysis. What if these business users could “shop” for and find data in much the same way as they do on consumer sites, like Amazon?
Data Scientists can have an Amazon-like experience by using the Collibra Catalog, said Stan, a Data Catalog available as part of Collibra 5.0. Collibra’s Catalog enables the Data Scientist to find datasets out there, collaborate with them, certify them, and get a feel for the data. At the same time the Collibra Catalog accounts for data control needs. The person searching for data needs to get permission or approval from the data owner, say if the dataset retrieved contains PII information. The Collibra Catalog exemplifies how control and enablement of data activity go together in addressing many Data Governance use cases.
Data: A Strategic Asset That Increasingly Drives Business
“Businesses have talked about Data Governance for decades and have tried many different initiatives that have often been too technologically focused,” observed Stan. “Typically, Data Governance has been addressed from a Metadata or IT angle.” As a result, Data Governance has become too technical and leaves out the crucial audience, the business owners. Unlike the past attempts in the 90s or before, newer Data Governance initiatives highlight business value. Stan remarked that these kinds of strategies succeed in Data Governance by “enabling data processes without getting lost in technicalities and system configurations.” Furthermore, successful Data Governance measures have become critical, as data continues to grow in importance as a strategic asset. This has become Collibra’s mantra.
Collibra recognizes that so many companies, like Google and Facebook, package data as the end-product. Brick & Mortar businesses, such as Ford and DuPont, need to invest in data as an asset to help them adapt, lest another major player forces them to change to survive. Stan recognizes that the trend emphasizing data’s value will continue to grow.
Forrester analyst Henry Peyret shares Stan’s sentiment, in the Forrester Wave™: Data Governance Stewardship Applications Report. Data Governance needs to be operationally efficient to support both the age of the customer and digital enterprise. Data must be first. This includes knowing Data Lineage and getting the business context correct. Stan stated that effective Data Governance “greases the wheels”, and thus enables the focus on data a strategic asset in an organization. With the increasing volume of data, social media, Internet of Things (IOT), and scope of regulations to properly protect privacy in dealing with data, business leaders need efficient Data Governance. Otherwise, companies will find a very high cost of mis-estimating the role of Data Governance.
Expanding Data Governance to New Level
Collibra continues its innovation in shaping the Data Governance market space by enabling “new levels of collaboration and productivity.” Collibra did this in 2016 by releasing the Catalog for its Data Governance application and introducing the “Amazonification of shopping for data assets.” Collibra continues to push the boundaries of Data Governance by offering a platform that is both easy-to-use and supportive of the most sophisticated governance requirements of global organizations. “Based on real-world feedback,” said Stan. “Collibra continues to expand the Data Governance marketspace with each release.”
Collibra 5.1 releases in mid-2017 and will enhance Data Governance “by dramatically enhancing Data Lineage diagrams with the first-of-its kind interactive capabilities, as well as by adding a profiling capability for data sets” remarked Stan. The new functionality will be added to Collibra’s Catalog and Data Governance application. Business users will be able to do Data Governance from within the Data Lineage Diagrams. “Collibra 5.1 will provide an interactive menu at one click away.“
In the next two or three years Stan expects the number of Data Governance use cases, from the current 20 or so, to continue to expand in horizontal scope. He expects more Data Management in the Cloud and a shift of Data Governance requirements there. He expects business ownership of data and its need for a self-service aspect to get stronger as well.
“A Data Governance collaboration platform, in addition to a data valuation one will be needed,” he said. “Considering these changes, Collibra continues to work on making sure we are ready to provide the best Data Governance options to all our of clients.”
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