In part 3 of the series for predictions for 2012, here is Jill Dyche, Baseline Consulting/DataFlux.
Part 2 was Timo Elliot, SAP at http://www.decisionstats.com/timo-elliott-on-2012/ and Part 1 was Jim Kobielus, Forrester at http://www.decisionstats.com/jim-kobielus-on-2012/
Ajay: What are the top trends you saw happening in 2011?
Well, I hate to say I saw them coming, but I did. A lot of managers committed some pretty predictable mistakes in 2011. Here are a few we witnessed in 2011 live and up close:
1. In the spirit of “size matters,” data warehouse teams continued to trumpet the volumes of stored data on their enterprise data warehouses. But a peek under the covers of these warehouses reveals that the data isn’t integrated. Essentially this means a variety of heterogeneous virtual data marts co-located on a single server. Neat. Big. Maybe even worthy of a magazine article about how many petabytes you’ve got. But it’s not efficient, and hardly the example of data standardization and re-use that everyone expects from analytical platforms these days.
2. Development teams still didn’t factor data integration and provisioning into their project plans in 2011. So we saw multiple projects spawn duplicate efforts around data profiling, cleansing, and standardization, not to mention conflicting policies and business rules for the same information. Bummer, since IT managers should know better by now. The problem is that no one owns the problem. Which brings me to the next mistake…
3. No one’s accountable for data governance. Yeah, there’s a council. And they meet. And they talk. Sometimes there’s lunch. And then nothing happens because no one’s really rewarded—or penalized for that matter—on data quality improvements or new policies. And so the reports spewing from the data mart are still fraught and no one trusts the resulting decisions.
But all is not lost since we’re seeing some encouraging signs already in 2012. And yes, I’d classify some of them as bona-fide trends.
Ajay: What are some of those trends?
Job descriptions for data stewards, data architects, Chief Data Officers, and other information-enabling roles are becoming crisper, and the KPIs for these roles are becoming more specific. Data management organizations are being divorced from specific lines of business and from IT, becoming specialty organizations—okay, COEs if you must—in their own rights. The value proposition for master data management now includes not just the reconciliation of heterogeneous data elements but the support of key business strategies. And C-level executives are holding the data people accountable for improving speed to market and driving down costs—not just delivering cleaner data. In short, data is becoming a business enabler. Which, I have to just say editorially, is better late than never!
Ajay: Anything surprise you, Jill?
I have to say that Obama mentioning data management in his State of the Union speech was an unexpected but pretty powerful endorsement of the importance of information in both the private and public sector.
I’m also sort of surprised that data governance isn’t being driven more frequently by the need for internal and external privacy policies. Our clients are constantly asking us about how to tightly-couple privacy policies into their applications and data sources. The need to protect PCI data and other highly-sensitive data elements has made executives twitchy. But they’re still not linking that need to data governance.
I should also mention that I’ve been impressed with the people who call me who’ve had their “aha!” moment and realize that data transcends analytic systems. It’s operational, it’s pervasive, and it’s dynamic. I figured this epiphany would happen in a few years once data quality tools became a commodity (they’re far from it). But it’s happening now. And that’s good for all types of businesses.
Jill Dyché has written three books and numerous articles on the business value of information technology. She advises clients and executive teams on leveraging technology and information to enable strategic business initiatives. Last year her company Baseline Consulting was acquired by DataFlux Corporation, where she is currently Vice President of Thought Leadership. Find her blog posts on www.dataroundtable.com.