What Business Execs Can Do to Stop Data Politics

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What do business managers think is the greatest challenge to changing how decision makers use data?

The answer: the lack of information ownership, according to Freeform Dynamics, a UK-based IT research firm. By the way, that answer beat out “limitations with IT or systems” and other IT-related complaints, as well as budgetary constraints. On the other hand — and perhaps more telling — is that it barely bested “lack of process ownership” and “disspirits and conflicts between business units.”

I don’t know about you, but that suggests to me a few things:


In a recent UK CIO piece, Freeform Dynamics Program Director Tony Lock explored what this all means for CIOs.

Granted, he’s drawing on a small survey (123 respondents) from one country, but I suspect the research is on to something here. After all, as much as business users like to “blame” IT and claim IT owns the data, it’s hard to deny the impact departmental silos and a lack of governance have, particularly as more organizations push for enterprise-wide information management.

Alas, it’s a people problem, which means there’s no patch to address it.

Lock’s suggestions: Accept the challenge, keep educating business executives about ownership issues. Then, ask executive management to set up an information architecture group with the authority to take actions.

“The group’s function should be to develop and maintain over time a strategic understanding of the organization’s data and information requirements,” writes Lock. “It would also seek to ensure that information resources are built efficiently and utilized effectively whenever new projects arise.”

If you can't acquire that level of commitment, one option would be to establish an Integration Competency Center to act as a clearinghouse for all data integration work and a first step toward an enterprise-wide view of data.