Speaker Spotlight Column: Anne Marie Smith on Data Governance

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edw2013-speaker-spotlightby Charles Roe

DATAVERSITY™ recently interviewed Anne Marie Smith, the Principal Consultant at Alabama Yankee Systems, LLC. Anne will be giving a tutorial at the Enterprise Data World 2014 Conference in Austin, Texas from April 27 – May 1, 2014. Her tutorial is titled “A Practical Approach to Implementing a Data Governance Program” and will be co-presented with Michael F. Jennings, the Senior Director of Enterprise Data Architecture at Walgreens.

The Speaker Spotlight Column (and its parallel venture the Sponsor Spotlight Column) is an ongoing project that focuses on highlighting several of the central issues represented at the many Data Management conferences produced by DATAVERSITY.

The primary emphasis of the interview was to question Anne Marie Smith on her work and history within the industry, with particular importance on her presentation at the upcoming conference:

DATAVERSITY (DV): What are you going to discuss during your session at EDW14, and what will the audience gain from attending your talk? (Please be specific about one or two issues you’ll be addressing and the benefits the audience will obtain).

Anne Marie Smith (AMS): This tutorial will address the execution of the Data Governance plans and the implementation of the Data Governance policies, standards, and processes into the normal operation of your organization.   Some of the issues my co-presenter (Mike Jennings) and I will address are: how to inject Data Governance into an existing Data Management organization; how to achieve rapid, small successes with a new Data Governance program; and how to overcome some of the most common challenges faced by Data Governance (and all Data Management) initiatives.

What is really important about such a topic in terms of the current state of Data Management and / or how the industry going to transform moving into the future?

AMS: Many organizations do not understand that Data Governance is only part of an enterprise approach to managing data as an asset or resource for the enterprise.  They confuse governance with all sorts of other activities and therefore do not perform the governance practices at all or they do them poorly.  To have good analytics and to trust the data that organizations capture and use, good governance is essential.

DV: Please tell us a little about yourself and your history in the industry, past work experience, and how you got started in the data profession?

AMS: My entire career has been spent in Data Management, in one area of the DMBOK framework or another.  I started as a data administration analyst for an insurance company, learned Data Modeling (conceptual, logical, enterprise, physical), Metadata Management and Repository work, and then moved to Data Warehousing.  I spent some time in business analysis focused more on the data requirements, and segued into Data Governance and Enterprise Data / Information Management to put all of my background together.  As a consultant I have been fortunate to be able to use many parts of my background on numerous engagements for many diverse clients.

DV: What is the biggest challenge happening in your particular area of Data Management at this time?

AMS: I think that the single biggest challenge facing organizations today is the explosion of data without any enterprise strategy to manage it.  Many organizations have no plans to adopt an Enterprise Data Management framework, such as the DMBOK, to organize and understand all the data they are collecting and attempting to use for analytics.  Without the foundations of an Enterprise Data Management strategy supporting the collection, storage and usage of your data, your organization will have bad data and get bad results.

DV: How is such a change influencing your job?

AMS: This lack of attention to the use of an enterprise framework is troubling to me since it means that companies still do not understand what people like me offer to an organization.  So, the “lack of change” influences my job in that it makes my job harder to accomplish.

DV: How have your job, and / or the work you are doing at your organization, altered in the past 12 months? How do you expect it will change in the next 1-2 years?

AMS: No, it has not altered in the past 12 months.  I think it will change over time as more organizations see the need for an Enterprise Data / Information Management strategy and for Data Governance, meaning that I will be busier.

DV: Are there any other emerging technologies you predict will affect your job function in the future?

AMS: The advent of “Big Data” technologies is making the need for Enterprise Data / Information Management even more important, and for the need for Data Governance, Master Data Management and Data Security Management even more essential.  So, those emerging technologies should help to force organizations to face the need for Enterprise Data Management initiatives.

DV: What’s your favorite “Data” or “Data Management” quote?

AMS: “You cannot manage what you have not measured”.  That refers to my work with assessments, for Enterprise Data / Information Management or for one or more of the functions of EIM.

DV: How do you explain what you do for work, at a cocktail party, or to your grandparents?

AMS: I tell people, especially my parents and others who have no idea about what I do, that I work to help companies understand the data they collect and use.  Usually, they say “Oh, you work with computers.”  Then, they ask me a question about their PC or laptop, or more recently, their tablet.  I laugh and tell them to ask my brother who is a hardware specialist.

If you are interested in attending Anne and Michaels’ tutorial at EDW2014, please see the conference schedule at: http://edw2014.dataversity.net/agenda.cfm?confid=79&scheduleDay=PRINT

Their session is on Monday, April 28, at 8.30am.

About Enterprise Data World:

Enterprise Data World is the business world’s most comprehensive educational event about data and information management. Over five days, EDW presents a diverse schedule of programming that addresses every level of proficiency, including keynotes, workshops, tutorials, case studies, and discussions.

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