Fight for MDM and Governance: Your Job May Depend On It

Loraine Lawson
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Five Tips for Easier Data Governance

Five steps you can take to ease the trauma of starting data governance.

You want one reason to get serious about information governance? Here's one: your job.


Twenty percent of CIOs in regulated industries will lose their jobs because they failed to successfully implement information governance, according to a recent Gartner press release summarizing a new report available only to clients, "Predicts 2012: Information Governance and MDM Programs Gain Traction."


At least CIOs won't be alone: The same report foresees enterprise legal officers also getting the boot for failures, Information Management reports.


It's simple, really: Regulatory fines and the risk of a sullied reputation mean companies just can't allow data losses to go unpunished, particularly if the data exposed belongs to customers, the article notes. And, right or wrong, CIOs are in the cross-hairs when governance fails and there are leaks.


In the past, there's been some question about whether data governance is really an executive-level issue. With predictions like this, you can expect that to change.


Gartner certainly does.


"The recent global financial crisis has put information governance in the spotlight," Ted Friedman, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, states. "Information governance is a priority of IT and business leaders as a result of various pressures, including regulatory compliance mandates and the urgent need for improved decision-making."


You'll often see data governance discussed as a separate issue from master data management, but clearly, they're related initiatives, since MDM done right requires organizations to document data ownership and resolve conflicts in the data.


But Gartner makes that relationship a little more clear, describing MDM as "critical to achieving effective governance," and adding, "Failure to manage information accurately has been the root cause of several incidents, including the leak of sensitive information to WikiLeaks, and can be fatal to the success of MDM programs."


The Massachusetts-based research firm says MDM software revenue increased to $1.9 billion this year - that's 21 percent over current spending. But spending on governance and MDM will need to reach five times its current level if these programs are going to succeed, according to the news release.


Over the next four years, data governance will expand to include quality, lifecycle management, security and privacy, Gartner says. That means there will also need to be more enterprise-wide involvement in governance.


But as MDM and governance spread, organizations will still struggle to convince key business leaders of its importance. Only 33 percent of organizations will succeed in demonstrating the value of information governance, Gartner says, largely because the required changes to business processes won't be supported by the business stakeholders.


For IT, that can mean only one thing: It's time to get serious about selling MDM and governance as an enterprise-wide, strategic initiative. And you'll need to sell it as if your job depends on it, because if Gartner's right, it very well might.

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