CFOs Now Vested in Data Integration, Quality

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    Five Tips for Easier Data Governance

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

    I’m a big proponent of “integration as strategy” but I admit to being surprised to learn that data integration is a “major area of common concern for CFOs and CROs (Chief Risk Officers).”

    Honesty, I didn’t know CFOs cared. I mean, really cared.

    But apparently, they do, according to a recent Computerworld UK piece by consultancy and systems integration firm, Accenture. Why? One driver is that both CFOs and CROs are managing what Accenture calls “extraordinary volatility” in so many areas, including regulation.

    But the main driver is the regulators enforcing those regulations, who “increasingly require the integration of models into day-to-day business decisions, these models can be called upon to operate at a pace consistent with business demands,” explains Accenture. “This can mean that the data inputs must be timely as well as reliable.”

    This new interest in the details of data means CFOs and CROs are also very interested in data quality, and Accenture says they’re taking the matter in hand through a number of initiatives, including teaming up with the CIO, being involved in data quality committees, and supporting major upgrades to data systems.

    All of which is bound to be good news to CIOs and IT leaders who have fought this battle alone for far, far too long.

    Of course, you won’t get far on data quality without a serious conversation about its “bossy” sibling: data governance. And there’s some good news on that front, too.

    In a recent InformationWeek post, columnist and enterprise data management veteran Rajan Chandras says he sees the discussion on governance shifting from “why” to “how.”

    Chandras is with the data strategy and management group at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, where he’s responsible for master data management and data warehousing/analytics.

    He says it’s not just theoretical support, either. Companies seem willing to put their money behind governance.

    “Bold suggestions on budgeting data governance activities are as routine as those for marketing campaigns and technology purchases,” Chandras writes.

    So it seems data governance advocates have won the battle on recognizing the need for governance. The next step, Chandras argues, will be clarifying what governance is, and that includes clearer requirements for how to do it well.

    He particularly takes aim at the solutions on the market that claim to address data governance, which he finds lacking. Since his company uses Informatica, he called up Rob Karel, who is now head of product strategy there, but is a former Forrester analyst who covered data governance.

    As I shared recently, Karel is writing a long blog series on this very topic.

    Karel agreed that there is no one tool that can solve data governance. Although he has a lengthy explanation as to why, as Inigo Montoya from “The Princess Bride” put it, “No, there is too much. Let me sum up. … I’ll sum up.”

    Karel sees data governance as a framework that can be supported with tools, but not achieved by software investments alone. And that’s basically what he told Chandras, albeit much more eloquently and in greater depth.

    For Chandras, the takeaway is that you can “stop looking for a single, comprehensive solution.” As in just stop — cause you aren’t going to find it.

    Where does that leave you? You’ve probably guessed, it may mean you need to invest in several solutions to get what you need. It probably also leaves you with a lot of work ahead of you.

    “Instead, build up a portfolio of solutions, small and large, customizing your approach (and architecture) to your own organization,” Chandras writes.

    But, hey — at least now you’ve got some heavy weight executives on your side, including the CFO, and that’s serious progress.

    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson is a freelance writer specializing in technology and business issues, including integration, health care IT, cloud and Big Data.

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