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Big Data, Big Problems: Leveraging Informatica 9.5 to Build an Effective Data Governance Strategy to Meet the Big Data Challenge

By: Chris Cingrani, Informatica DQ & MDM Practice Lead, Data Management Practice at SSG Ltd., www.ssglimited.com

Big data is something that I am continually asked about by clients, as the subject continues to gain significant press.  While discussing this topic, I often address it from the angle that bigger data volumes will result in bigger data problems.   Although this seems like a logical premise, the reality of what it really means to an organization and how to plan accordingly is what is often overlooked.  Rather than solve the problem in this blog post, I want to focus on two key considerations from a data governance standpoint, as well as discuss why SSG sees Informatica 9.5 as a core component of a sound data governance strategy that can ensure an organizations’ business decision-making success.

Regardless of the amount of data within an organization, the same type of problems around the integrity of the data and the need to put policies, procedures and an organizational structure in place to address data governance is important. The difference is that the size and scope of data issues (and how to resolve them) will become magnified as the volumes of data increase. In addition, the type of data often varies in a big data scenario, with a significant amount of unstructured data being available for consumption into an organization.

When discussing the importance of data governance with clients, as well as the impact big data can have on this strategy, I often start with two core tenets:

  1. What is your starting point? – Before you can determine where you would like to go with a data governance initiative, you need to understand the starting point.  The first key question to understand is what is business objective/goal for considering a governance initiative?  If you don’t have a clear purpose, the initiative is likely to lose steam over time.

Once you understand the objective, other questions to ask include: Do you have an understanding of the quality of data within your organization? Are tools in place to resolve data quality issues and report on them? Also, what level of support do you have from senior management to embark on a data governance initiative?  The intention of these types of questions is to determine if data governance is just a buzzword, or is it something that could gain traction if a plan is put into place within the organization.

  1. Don’t boil the ocean – This phrase refers to having a realistic game plan for the governance initiative. Although data governance should be adopted throughout the entire organization, starting at a project level will allow you to pilot the processes, organizational changes and/or technologies that have been selected as a part of the data governance initiative. This also goes back to point #1, as we need to understand our starting point in order to set realistic expectations when building a data governance organization based on the current maturity around the topic within the company.

How does Informatica 9.5 help?

Informatica 9.5 is focused on maximizing return on data within an organization. If we consider some of the capabilities provided in Informatica 9.5 along with the need to develop a data governance strategy within an organization, we can make sure your company is ready to address the big data challenge. Just remember my earlier point – the concepts around data governance are the same, it’s just the data volumes and type of data that are going to be different.

With Informatica 9.5, companies can increase the value of data to their organization while also lowering the cost of data. If we consider these points from a data governance standpoint and the big data challenge, some of the benefits that Informatica 9.5 provides to an organization include:

Increasing the Value of Data:

  • Relevant data: The larger the volumes of data, the more important it is to determine which information is relevant to your business. Just having the ability to access Facebook and Twitter data doesn’t make it relevant, as you need to have a purpose for this information. Having data governance policies and standards in place are critical, as you need to determine how you plan to use the additional data feeds and who will be responsible for making decisions based on the new information is critical. Informatica 9.5 provides new capabilities such as natural language processing (NLP) and social MDM, which helps organizations further analyze and integrate social data. Having data governance policies in place can provide the framework to decide how this information can be leveraged in your organization’s business activities.
  • Timely data: Having policies in place that determine how you will bring real-time data feeds into the organization and who will be responsible for using the data (and the timeframe for leveraging it) will be the responsibility of the data governance organization. From a software perspective, data streaming capabilities in Informatica 9.5 will help your organization capture data in a timely fashion. The data governance organization needs to ensure you have the processes/policies in place to do something with it before the data is no longer relevant.

Lower Cost of Data:

  • Business costs considerations: I have seen a number of organizations make bad decisions as they do not have the right software technology and policies in place within the organization to know that their data is “bad”.  Through the use of Informatica 9.5, your organization will have increased visibility into data issues through data discovery, and the ability to resolve the issues in a more governed process through data stewardship workflows.
  • Labor costs considerations: A typical scenario within organizations involves teams of people performing manual intervention to resolve data issues. By leveraging Informatica 9.5, you can automate the discovery of data issues across hundreds of table or sources at once. As you migrate from a manual process of data review, the team members within the organization previously responsible for these activities can be leveraged in other areas more critical to the success of the business. In addition, from a governance perspective, the ability to catalog issues and build business glossaries will provide reusable templates and rules that can further reduce costs within the organization.

As your organization looks to address the big data challenge, you need to ensure that you have the foundation in place for ongoing success. Although a data governance strategy addresses the people, processes and policies required, you also need a software platform that can enable these processes. Informatica 9.5 provides the software platform required to quickly jumpstart your efforts in order to ensure your data governance strategies are executed as planned. Remember this mantra – think big (data) but start small to build the data governance framework needed for ongoing success.

 

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