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A Three-Step Strategy for Tackling Big Data Governance Challenges

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Looking Ahead at the 2015 Business Intelligence Landscape

Big Data will bring new challenges to data governance. Succeeding will require organizations to simplify, prioritize and above all adapt as Big Data use matures.

Yesterday, I shared four Big Data governance challenges:

  • Changing data roles
  • Broader business involvement
  • Business buy-in
  • Technical challenges

Let’s look at how those success principles can be applied to the first two Big Data governance challenges.

Data roles

Data roles such as data steward and data owner are not so clear with large data sets.  How do you manage these unclear and changing roles?

Simplify & Prioritize: Don’t get bogged down in this, but do be proactive. Businesses “need to actively manage the ownership issue to ensure a committed business owner is soon identified,” advises Avi Kalderon, NewVantage Partners’ practice leader for Big Data and Analytics, in a recent Information Management column. Although Kalderon doesn’t specifically suggest it, one way to simplify assigning roles is to prioritize ownership and stewardship by aligning with business goals.

Adapt: Some of the data roles may change during the data’s lifecycle. So plan for adaptation.  “Organizations must establish timelines and regular check points, and begin to measure the area being governed with key milestones like assigning clear accountability to ensure progress is being made, and ensuring clear measurements are in place,” Kalderon suggests.

Broader Business Involvement

Big Data requires broader business involvement, but more to the point, it will require that data to be managed on an enterprise-wide level.

Prioritize: Big Data will require a federated governance structure, overseen by a central governing body, according to QuinStreet’s ebook, Turning Big Data into Useful Information.

Data Management

The central governance body makes decisions about the most important and common data problems, with the lines of business managing the edicts locally.

Simplify & Adapt: While Big Data will at first need a “distinct governance body,” organizations should start to embed data governance into other standard governance procedures, such as architectural review boards, system development methodology, audit and risk reviews and security, the book suggests. Eventually, you may no longer need an individual governance board. I’m not sure data governance experts would agree with that, but it’s a worthy goal if you want to ensure governance becomes incorporated into the broader business infrastructure.

Tomorrow, I’ll look at how to prioritize, simplify and adapt the other two Big Data governance challenges.

Loraine Lawson is a veteran technology reporter and blogger. She currently writes the Integration blog for IT Business Edge, which covers all aspects of integration technology, including data governance and best practices. She has also covered IT/Business Alignment and IT Security for IT Business Edge. Before becoming a freelance writer, Lawson worked at TechRepublic as a site editor and writer, covering mobile, IT management, IT security and other technology trends. Previously, she was a webmaster at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and a newspaper journalist. Follow Lawson at Google+ and on Twitter.

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