Software // Information Management
Commentary
7/2/2007
02:23 PM
Neil Raden
Neil Raden
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Data Governance v0.9?

I spent a couple days at the Data Governance conference in San Francisco last week, not as a speaker, but strictly as a listener. What I really wanted to get out of the three days was a deeper understanding of this concept of governance, what it means and how it works. I admit, I cringe at the word "governance," because it reeks of IT control and restrictions, something we've clearly had enough of for the past few decades...

I spent a couple days at the Data Governance Conference in San Francisco last week, not as a speaker, but strictly as a listener. It was nice of Davida Berger and Tony Shaw to invite me, and of course, it's always great to see friends and colleagues, but what I really wanted to get out of the three days was a deeper understanding of this concept of governance, what it means and how it works. I admit, I cringe at the word "governance," because it reeks of IT control and restrictions, something we've clearly had enough of for the past few decades. This, combined with the government's renewed interest in everything, seems like a perfect medium for the control freaks and compartmentalizers to push their agendas, creating more bureaucracy and less data democracy (though that is another term that makes me cringe, but let's save that for another time).So I was pretty surprised to learn that data governance was being presented as largely a business effort, to be taken up and practiced by domain experts and "data stewards" who have not only an understanding of the meaning and uses of the data, but also of the business processes it lives in. You'll have to forgive me, but my lifelong paranoia about government and other forms of authority got the better of me on this one. That was a pleasant surprise. Now the downside. I still don't know how this data governance thing is supposed to work. I heard about roles, about methods to reach consensus, and, especially, a lot of things lumped in that I'd heard before under different names, such as Data Quality, but I never got a clear answer on what a Data Governance effort is supposed to do, what tools to use, what the tangible result is and, most disquieting of all, how all of the other aspects of IT benefit from the effort. Is the output a repository, a mission statement, an ad hoc group of "stewards" formulating policy? How is it implemented? What form does it take? How long does it take - forever, apparently, but how long before it returns some value? How is it connected to other systems and/or the outside world? What are the best practices? All of these questions seem to be unanswered, yet budgets for DG are being prepared that are in the seven figures. My father told me never to buy a car that was in its first model year. Rather, it's better to wait a year or two until they work the bugs out and add some new goodies to keep the interest up. I know I'm going to be missing out on some top-down, wind-in-my-face fun for a little while, but I think I'm going to wait this one out.

Neil Raden is the founder of Hired Brains, providers of consulting, research and analysis in Business Intelligence, Performance Management, real-time analytics and information/semantic integration. Neil is co-author of the just-released book "Smart Enough Systems," with business rules expert James Taylor.I spent a couple days at the Data Governance conference in San Francisco last week, not as a speaker, but strictly as a listener. What I really wanted to get out of the three days was a deeper understanding of this concept of governance, what it means and how it works. I admit, I cringe at the word "governance," because it reeks of IT control and restrictions, something we've clearly had enough of for the past few decades...

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The Agile Archive
The Agile Archive
When it comes to managing data, donít look at backup and archiving systems as burdens and cost centers. A well-designed archive can enhance data protection and restores, ease search and e-discovery efforts, and save money by intelligently moving data from expensive primary storage systems.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest - August 20, 2014
CIOs need people who know the ins and outs of cloud software stacks and security, and, most of all, can break through cultural resistance.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.