by Ian Rowlands
There was a plaintive note on LinkedIn recently from Jim Barker, Director of Data Management at Honeywell. You can see his link here — http://lnkd.in/bDyr__Y . He’s conducting a survey for on what firms are doing on Data Governance for a thesis he’s writing. Please review the survey and consider participating. What tweaked my interest was what Jim wrote, in response to the lack of interest he’s provoked: “Input on Data Governance – Is this area progressing or losing its importance … I made a request for input on what firms are doing in the data governance space and was disappointed in the number of responses.”
I have some concerns about the survey, but I agree with Jim’s basic premise that Data Governance is becoming more important than ever. But I’ve been seeing some changes in it’s place in the organization. The biggest thing seems to be a rearrangement of responsibilities between the business and Information Technology functions. For an increasing number of our clients it appears that Business is increasingly taking ownership of Governance, and I.T. is increasingly providing Data Management functions as a service to support the business-led initiative.
The shift I’m seeing is most visible to me, at least, in the banking sector, where a stream of regulatory requirements has increasingly sharpened the focus of Business Functions on the appropriateness of data and the fitness of data for purpose. Basel II, Basel III and now — most markedly — BCBS 239 have made it increasingly clear that data governance cannot be the province of the technical folks. Accountability has to be with the business. That shift, in its turn is driving a rethink of organizational models that seemed to be settling into a fairly standard shape. In particular, a number of organizations now have business functions that might be called things like “Information Quality” or “Data Quality” that are driving Data Governance — the name has changed, but the game’s the same.
There’s another trend that seems set to have a significant impact on Data Governance. As we have talked to clients, and potential clients, about what they’re doing with Big Data it’s clear that for many Data Governance hasn’t yet made its presence felt. We are trying to nudge people in the governance direction both because they will need to show accountability for Big Data driven decisions and because the ungoverned proliferation of assets will cause a dramatic growth in IT driven risk. As Big Data comes into the governance sphere of influence, that too will impact the shape of governance.
One thing that we are definitely NOT seeing is any reduction in interest in the technologies that provide the I.T. function with the Data Governance toolkit … metadata management, glossaries, reference data management, data profiling, data quality, master data management … they are all commanding continued interest.
So don’t worry Jim, Data Governance isn’t losing importance, it’s progressing … even if it’s changing and might look very different in a year or two!