Tag Archives: Best Practices
It is probable that all of the information on a member is stored in several different systems – so getting the complete picture can be difficult. In addition – controlling access to this information is an important part of any organization’s overall strategy. And finally – data assets become more valuable the more you use them. If three divisions of an organization all share information about their interactions with a customer, the organization as a whole is better able to service the customer, at lower cost and with high customer satisfaction.
Data governance is used by organizations to exercise control over processes and methods used by their data stewards and data custodians in order to improve data quality. Data governance is a control that ensures that the data entry by an operations team member or by an automated process meets precise standards, such as a business rule, a data definition and data integrity constraints in the data model. A data governor uses data quality monitoring against production data to communicate errors in data back to operational team members, or to the technical support team, for corrective action.
How far along in the Data Governance journey is your organization?
- Is your organization currently unaware of Data Governance?
There is minimal focus on data quality or security, data isn’t prioritized in any meaningful or actionable way, there is no measurement around data governance and it isn’t managed.
- Is your organization in the initial phases of Data Governance?
Data Governance is primarily grassroots driven by a few passionate individuals, rules are implemented in an ad hoc fashion, with policies or standards are part of functional requirements in an IT project, which is only considered successful if the IT release is considered successful.
- Is Data Governance at your organization repeatable?
For these organizations – data governance is still grassroots, but gaining attention at the IT management level. There are documented IT governance and standards driving metadata resuse and improved collaboration across IT projects. The success is measured primarily on improved IT efficiencies. This is typically managed through a pilot project.
- Defined Data Governance
This is lead primarily from senior IT through adoption of competency centers and centers of excellence. Project leadership is primarily through IT, but there is business involvement. The success is measured on operational metrics at a project level.
- Data Governance that is Managed
The Data Governance program is sponsored by business leaders, initiated as part of a broader strategic enterprise information management program. Data Governance will live through multi-phase, multi-year efforts but measured based on the success of the program.
- Optimized Data Governance
There is top-level executive sponsorship and support. Data governance is embraced as a self-sustaining core business function managing data as a corporate asset. Success is measured on the total impact to the business, not just confined to specific programs or strategies.
There is a fantastic site (http://governyourdata.com/ ) that is an open peer-to-peer community of data governance practitioners, evangelists, thought leaders, bloggers, analysts and vendors. The goal of the governyourdata community is to share best practices, methodologies, frameworks, education, and other tools to help data governance leaders succeed in their efforts.
One of our customers, UPMC has a great blog post on their implementation of a Data Governance council and the challenges they faced making it a priority in their organization.
To figure out where on the continuum of data governance maturity – there is a Data Governance Maturity Assessment Tool through the governyourdata.com site. A maturity assessment level sets current gaps and strengths and paves the way for defining a successful strategy. The process of assessing an organization’s maturity should include interviews of relevant business and IT staff, business risk surveys, business analyst time and activity analysis, and other techniques. Once your assessment is completed – you can identify the appropriate steps you need to plan for to develop an Optimized Data Governance approach for your organization. Where does your organization stand?
The rapid advancement we are seeing in social, mobile and other digital technologies have transformed the way of our life significantly. My commute to airport for business travel takes three taps on an app on my smart phone and a leading retailer I shop frequently, knows what I like, which product I have put on the cart using my iPad, which products I “liked” on their social channels so they can do real-time recommendations while I am at their physical store. Their employees are now armed with information that is integrated in ways that empower them be more customer-centric than ever before.
All these rapid changes just over a decade are bought to us by companies that pioneered the digital transformation and data is at the center of this revolution. These organizations gained competitive advantage from social, mobile, analytics, cloud, and internet of things technologies. In a world filled with data of different variety, volume and velocity, it’s more important for organizations to become data-ready. While the potential for insight in big data is massive, we need a new generation of Master Data Management to realize all the potential.
In the contrast of this rapid change fueled by data, growing number of companies are realizing that they now have a massive opportunity in front of them. At the centers of this digital transformation is master data that provides an opportunity for organizations to:
- Better understand customers, their household and relationships so they can do effective cross-sell and up-sell
- Identify customers interacting with company via different channels so they can push relevant offer to these customers in real time.
- Offer better product recommendations to customers based on their purchasing and browsing behavior
- Optimize the way they manage their inventory leading to significant cost savings
- Manage supplier relationships more effectively so they can negotiate better rate
- Provide superior patient care and cure harmful deceases at early stage by creating patient-centric solutions that connect health information from more and more sources
- Master wellhead and other upstream exploration and production assets so they can do better crew allocation and production planning
- Be compliant to complex and ever changing government regulations leading to significant savings in terms of fines and punishments
We will talk about all this and more at Informatica World 2015 which is happening next week in Las Vegas. Join us for the MDM Day on May 12 followed by Information Quality and Governance track sessions on May 13 and 14. Register now.
We have 37 sessions that cover Master Data Management, Omnichannel Commerce, Data Quality, Data as a Service and Big Data Relationship Management. You get a chance to learn from Informatica’s customers about their experience, best practices from our partners and our vision and roadmap straight from our product management team. We will also talk about master data fueled Total Customer Relationship and Total Supplier Relationship applications that leverage our industry leading multidomain MDM platform.
Here is your guide to sessions that will be covered. I will see you there. If you want to say hello in person, reach out to me at @MDMGeek and follow @InfaMDM twitter handle for all the latest news. The hash tag for this event is #INFA15
Let’s face it, building a Data Governance program is no overnight task. As one CDO puts it: ”data governance is a marathon, not a sprint”. Why? Because data governance is a complex business function that encompasses technology, people and process, all of which have to work together effectively to ensure the success of the initiative. Because of the scope of the program, Data Governance often calls for participants from different business units within an organization, and it can be disruptive at first.
Why bother then? Given that data governance is complex, disruptive, and could potentially introduce additional cost to a company? Well, the drivers for data governance can vary for different organizations. Let’s take a close look at some of the motivations behind data governance program.
For companies in heavily regulated industries, establishing a formal data governance program is a mandate. When a company is not compliant, consequences can be severe. Penalties could include hefty fines, brand damage, loss in revenue, and even potential jail time for the person who is held accountable for being noncompliance. In order to meet the on-going regulatory requirements, adhere to data security policies and standards, companies need to rely on clean, connected and trusted data to enable transparency, auditability in their reporting to meet mandatory requirements and answer critical questions from auditors. Without a dedicated data governance program in place, the compliance initiative could become an on-going nightmare for companies in the regulated industry.
A data governance program can also be established to support customer centricity initiative. To make effective cross-sells and ups-sells to your customers and grow your business, you need clear visibility into customer purchasing behaviors across multiple shopping channels and touch points. Customer’s shopping behaviors and their attributes are captured by the data, therefore, to gain thorough understanding of your customers and boost your sales, a holistic Data Governance program is essential.
Other reasons for companies to start a data governance program include improving efficiency and reducing operational cost, supporting better analytics and driving more innovations. As long as it’s a business critical area and data is at the core of the process, and the business case is loud and sound, then there is a compelling reason for launching a data governance program.
Now that we have identified the drivers for data governance, how do we start? This rather loaded question really gets into the details of the implementation. A few critical elements come to consideration including: identifying and establishing various task forces such as steering committee, data governance team and business sponsors; identifying roles and responsibilities for the stakeholders involved in the program; defining metrics for tracking the results. And soon you will find that on top of everything, communications, communications and more communications is probably the most important tactic of all for driving the initial success of the program.
A rule of thumb? Start small, take one-step at a time and focus on producing something tangible.
Sounds easy, right? Well, let’s hear what the real-world practitioners have to say. Join us at this Informatica webinar to hear Michael Wodzinski, Director of Information Architecture, Lisa Bemis, Director of Master Data, Fabian Torres, Director of Project Management from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, global leader in publishing, as well as David Lyle, VP of product strategy from Informatica to discuss how to implement a successful data governance practice that brings business impact to an enterprise organization.
If you are currently kicking the tires on setting up data governance practice in your organization, I’d like to invite you to visit a member-only website dedicated to Data Governance: http://governyourdata.com/. This site currently has over 1,000 members and is designed to foster open communications on everything data governance. There you will find conversations on best practices, methodologies, frame works, tools and metrics. I would also encourage you to take a data governance maturity assessment to see where you currently stand on the data governance maturity curve, and compare the result against industry benchmark. More than 200 members have taken the assessment to gain better understanding of their current data governance program, so why not give it a shot?
Data Governance is a journey, likely a never-ending one. We wish you best of the luck on this effort and a joyful ride! We love to hear your stories.
Achieving and maintaining a single, semantically consistent version of master data is crucial for every organization. As many companies are moving from an account or product-centric approach to a customer-centric model, master data management is becoming an important part of their enterprise data management strategy. MDM provides the clean, consistent and connected information your organizations need for you to –
- Empower customer facing teams to capitalize on cross-sell and up-sell opportunities
- Create trusted information to improve employee productivity
- Be agile with data management so you can make confident decisions in a fast changing business landscape
- Improve information governance and be compliant with regulations
But there are challenges ahead for the organizations. As Andrew White of Gartner very aptly wrote in a blog post, we are only half pregnant with Master Data Management. Andrew in his blog post talked about increasing number of inquiries he gets from organizations that are making some pretty simple mistakes in their approach to MDM without realizing the impact of those decisions on a long run.
Over last 10 years, I have seen many organizations struggle to implement MDM in a right way. Few MDM implementations have failed and many have taken more time and incurred cost before showing value.
So, what is the secret sauce?
A key factor for a successful MDM implementation lays in mapping your business objectives to features and functionalities offered by the product you are selecting. It is a phase where you ask right questions and get them answered. There are few great ways in which organizations can get this done and talking to analysts is one of them. The other option is to attend MDM focused events that allow you to talk to experts, learn from other customer’s experience and hear about best practices.
We at Informatica have been working hard to deliver you a flexible MDM platform that provides complete capabilities out of the box. But MDM journey is more than just technology and product features as we have learnt over the years. To ensure our customer success, we are sharing knowledge and best practices we have gained with hundreds of successful MDM and PIM implementations. The Informatica MDM Day, is a great opportunity for organizations where we will –
- Share best practices and demonstrate our latest features and functionality
- Show our product capabilities which will address your current and future master data challenges
- Provide you opportunity to learn from other customer’s MDM and PIM journeys.
- Share knowledge about MDM powered applications that can help you realize early benefits
- Share our product roadmap and our vision
- Provide you an opportunity to network with other like-minded MDM, PIM experts and practitioners
So, join us by registering today for our MDM Day event in New York on 24th February. We are excited to see you all there and walk with you towards MDM Nirvana.
To level set, let’s make sure you understand my definition of dark data. I prefer using visualizations when I can so, picture this: the end of the first Indiana Jones movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark. In this scene, we see the Ark of the Covenant, stored in a generic container, being moved down the aisle in a massive warehouse full of other generic containers. What’s in all those containers? It’s pretty much anyone’s guess. There may be a record somewhere, but, for all intents and purposes, the materials stored in those boxes are useless.
Applying this to data, once a piece of data gets shoved into some generic container and is stored away, just like the Arc, the data becomes essentially worthless. This is dark data.
Opening up a government agency to all its dark data can have significant impacts, both positive and negative. Here are couple initial tips to get you thinking in the right direction:
- Begin with the end in mind – identify quantitative business benefits of exposing certain dark data.
- Determine what’s truly available – perform a discovery project – seek out data hidden in the corners of your agency – databases, documents, operational systems, live streams, logs, etc.
- Create an extraction plan – determine how you will get access to the data, how often does the data update, how will handle varied formats?
- Ingest the data – transform the data if needed, integrate if needed, capture as much metadata as possible (never assume you won’t need a metadata field, that’s just about the time you will be proven wrong).
- Govern the data – establish standards for quality, access controls, security protections, semantic consistency, etc. – don’t skimp here, the impact of bad data can never really be quantified.
- Store it – it’s interesting how often agencies think this is the first step
- Get the data ready to be useful to people, tools and applications – think about how to minimalize the need for users to manipulate data – reformatting, parsing, filtering, etc. – to better enable self-service.
- Make it available – at this point, the data should be easily accessible, easily discoverable, easily used by people, tools and applications.
Clearly, there’s more to shining the light on dark data than I can offer in this post. If you’d like to take the next step to learning what is possible, I suggest you download the eBook, The Dark Data Imperative.
The first architect grew through the ranks starting as a Database Administrator, a black belt in SQL and COBOL programming. Hand coding was their DNA for many years and thought of as the best approach given how customized their business and systems were vs. other organizations. As such, Architect #1 and their team went down the path of building their data management capabilities through custom hand coded scripts, manual data extractions and transformations, and dealing with data quality issues through the business organizations after the data is delivered. Though their approach and decisions delivered on their short term needs, the firm realized the overhead required to make changes and respond to new requests driven by new industry regulations and changing market conditions.
The second architect is a “gadget guy” at heart who grew up using off the shelf tools vs. hand coding for managing data. He and his team decides not to hand code their data management processes, instead adopt and built their solution leveraging best of breed tools, some of which were open source, others from existing solutions the company had from previous projects for data integration, data quality, and metadata management. Though their tools helped automate much of the “heavy lifting” he and is IT team were still responsible for integrating these point solutions to work together which required ongoing support and change management.
The last architect is as technically competent as his peers however understood the value of building something once to use across the business. His approach was a little different than the first two. Understanding the risks and costs of hand coding or using one off tools to do the work, he decided to adopt an integrated platform designed to handle the complexities, sources, and volumes of data required by the business. The platform also incorporated shared metadata, reusable data transformation rules and mappings, a single source of required master and reference data, and provided agile development capabilities to reduce the cost of implementation and ongoing change management. Though this approach was more expensive to implement, the long term cost benefit and performance benefits made the decision a “no brainer’.
Lurking in the woods is Mr. Wolf. Mr. Wolf is not your typical antagonist however is a regulatory auditor whose responsibility is to ensure these banks can explain how risk is calculated as reported to the regulatory authorities. His job isn’t to shut these banks down, instead making sure the financial industry is able to measure risk across the enterprise, explain how risk is measured, and ensure these firms are adequately capitalized as mandated by new and existing industry regulations.
Mr. Wolf visits the first bank for an annual stress test audit. Looking at the result of their stress test, he asks the compliance teams to explain how their data was produced, transformed, calculated, to support the risk measurements they reported as part of the audit. Unfortunately, due to the first architect’s recommendations of hand coding their data management processes, IT failed to provide explanations and documentation on what they did, they found the developers that created their systems were no longer with the firm. As a result, the bank failed miserably, resulting in stiff penalties and higher audit costs.
Next, Architect #2’s bank was next. Having heard of what happened to their peer in the news, the architect and IT teams were confident that they were in good shape to pass their stress test audit. After digging into the risk reports, Mr. Wolf questioned the validity of the data used to calculate Value at Risk (VaR). Unfortunately, the tools that were adopted were never designed nor guaranteed by the vendors to work with each other resulting in invalid data mapping and data quality rules and gaps within their technical metadata documentation. As a result, bank #2 also failed their audit and found themselves with a ton of on one-off tools that helped automate their data management processes but lacked the integration and sharing of rules and metadata to satisfy the regulator’s demand for risk transparency.
Finally, Mr. Wolf investigated Architect #3’s firm. Having seen the result of the first two banks, Mr. Wolf was leery of their ability to pass their stress test audits. Similar demands were presented by Mr. Wolf however this time, Bank #3 provided detailed and comprehensive metadata documentation of their risk data measurements, descriptions of the data used in each report, an comprehensive report of each data quality rule used to cleanse their data, and detailed information on each counterparty and legal entity used to calculate VaR. Unable to find gaps in their audit, Mr. Wolf, expecting to “blow” the house down, delivered a passing grade for Bank 3 and their management team due to the right investments they made to support their enterprise risk data management needs.
The moral of this story, similar to the familiar one involving the three little pigs is about the importance of having a solid foundation to weather market and regulatory storms or the violent bellow of a big bad wolf. A foundation that includes the required data integration, data quality, master data management, and metadata management needs but also supports collaboration and visibility of how data is produced, used, and performing across the business. Ensuring current and future compliance in today’s financial services industry requires firms to have a solid data management platform, one that is intelligent, comprehensive, and allows Information Architects to help mitigate the risks and costs of hand coding or using point tools to get by only in the short term.
Are you prepared to meet Mr. Wolf?
Have you noticed something different this winter season that most people are cheery about? I’ll give you a hint. It’s not the great sales going on at your local shopping mall but something that helps you get to the mall allot more affordable then last year. It’s the extremely low gas prices across the globe, fueled by over-supply of oil vs. demand contributed from a boom in Geo-politics and boom in shale oil production in N. America and abroad. Like any other commodity, it’s impossible to predict where oil prices are headed however, one thing is sure that Oil and Gas companies will need timely and quality data as firms are investing in new technologies to become more agile, innovative, efficient, and competitive as reported by a recent IDC Energy Insights Predictions report for 2015.
The report predicts:
- 80% of the top O&G companies will reengineer processes and systems to optimize logistics, hedge risk and efficiently and safely deliver crude, LNG, and refined products by the end of 2017.
- Over the next 3 years, 40% of O&G majors and all software divisions of oilfield services (OFS) will co-innovate on domain specific technical projects with IT professional service firms.
- The CEO will expect immediate and accurate information about top Shale Plays to be available by the end of 2015 to improve asset value by 30%.
- By 2016, 70% percent of O&G companies will have invested in programs to evolve the IT environment to a third platform driven architecture to support agility and readily adapt to change.
- With continued labor shortages and over 1/3 of the O&G workforce under 45 in three years, O&G companies will turn to IT to meet productivity goals.
- By the end of 2017, 100% of the top 25 O&G companies will apply modeling and simulation tools and services to optimize oil field development programs and 25% will require these tools.
- Spending on connectivity related technologies will increase by 30% between 2014 and 2016, as O&G companies demand vendors provide the right balance of connectivity for a more complex set of data sources.
- In 2015, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, plus new integrated capabilities, will drive 40% of O&G companies to re-evaluate their current deployments of ERP and hydrocarbon accounting.
- With a business case built on predictive analytics and optimization in drilling, production and asset integrity, 50% of O&G companies will have advanced analytics capabilities in place by 2016.
- With pressures on capital efficiency, by 2015, 25% of the Top 25 O&G companies will apply integrated planning and information to large capital projects, speeding up delivery and reducing over-budget risks by 30%.
Realizing value from these investments will also require Oil and Gas firms to modernize and improve their data management infrastructure and technologies to deliver great data whether to fuel actionable insights from Big Data technology to facilitating post-merger application consolidation and integration activities. Great data is only achievable by Great Design supported by capable solutions designed to help access and deliver timely, trusted, and secure data to need it most.
Lack of proper data management investments and competences have long plagued the oil and gas sector with “less-than acceptable” data and higher operating costs. According to the “Upstream Data and Information Management Survey” conducted by Wipro Technologies, 56% of those surveyed felt that business users spent more than ¼ or more of their time on low value activities caused by existing data issues (e.g. accessing, cleansing, preparing data) for “high value” activities (e.g. analysis, planning, decision making). The same survey showed the biggest data management issues were timely access to required data and data quality issues from source systems.
So what can Oil and Gas CIO’s and Enterprise Architects do to prepare for the future? Here are some tips for consideration:
- Look to migrate and automate legacy hand coded data transformation processes by adopting tools that can help streamline the development, testing, deployment, and maintenance of these complex tasks that help developers build, maintain, and monitor data transformation rules once and deploy them across the enterprise.
- Simplify how data is distributed across systems with more modern architectures and solutions and avoid the cost and complexities of point to point integrations
- Deal with and manage data quality upstream at the source and throughout the data life cycle vs. having end users fix unforeseen data quality errors manually.
- Create a centralized source of shared business reference and master data that can manage a consistent record across heterogeneous systems such as well asset/material information (wellhead, field, pump, valve, etc.), employee data (drill/reservoir engineer, technician), location data (often geo-spatial), and accounting data (for financial roll-ups of cost, production data).
- Establish standards and repeatable best practices by adopting an Integration Competency Center frame work to support the integration and sharing of data between operational and analytical systems.
In summary, low oil prices have a direct and positive impact to consumers especially during the winter season and holidays and I personally hope they continue for the unforeseeable future given that prices were double just a year ago. Unfortunately, no one can predict future energy prices however one thing is for sure, the demand for great data by Oil and Gas companies will continue to grow. As such, CIO’s and Enterprise Architects will need to consider and recognize the importance of improving their data management capabilities and technologies to ensure success in 2015. How ready are you?
Click to learn more about Informatica in today’s Energy Sector:
The title of this article may seem counterintuitive, but the reality is that the business doesn’t care about data. They care about their business processes and outcomes that generate real value for the organization. All IT professionals know there is huge value in quality data and in having it integrated and consistent across the enterprise. The challenge is how to prove the business value of data if the business doesn’t care about it. (more…)
A few months ago, while addressing a room full of IT and business professional at an Information Governance conference, a CFO said – “… if we designed our systems today from scratch, they will look nothing like the environment we own.” He went on to elaborate that they arrived there by layering thousands of good and valid decisions on top of one another.
Similarly, Information Governance has also evolved out of the good work that was done by those who preceded us. These items evolve into something that only a few can envision today. Along the way, technology evolved and changed the way we interact with data to manage our daily tasks. What started as good engineering practices for mainframes gave way to data management.
Then, with technological advances, we encountered new problems, introduced new tasks and disciplines, and created Information Governance in the process. We were standing on the shoulders of data management, armed with new solutions to new problems. Now we face the four Vs of big data and each of those new data system characteristics have introduced a new set of challenges driving the need for Big Data Information Governance as a response to changing velocity, volume, veracity, and variety.
Before I answer this question, I must ask you “How comprehensive is the framework you are using today and how well does it scale to address the new challenges?”
While there are several frameworks out in the marketplace to choose from. In this blog, I will tell you what questions you need to ask yourself before replacing your old framework with a new one:
Q. Is it nimble?
The focus of data governance practices must allow for nimble responses to changes in technology, customer needs, and internal processes. The organization must be able to respond to emergent technology.
Q. Will it enable you to apply policies and regulations to data brought into the organization by a person or process?
- Public company: Meet the obligation to protect the investment of the shareholders and manage risk while creating value.
- Private company: Meet privacy laws even if financial regulations are not applicable.
- Fulfill the obligations of external regulations from international, national, regional, and local governments.
Q. How does it Manage quality?
For big data, the data must be fit for purpose; context might need to be hypothesized for evaluation. Quality does not imply cleansing activities, which might mask the results.
Q. Does it understanding your complete business and information flow?
Attribution and lineage are very important in big data. Knowing what is the source and what is the destination is crucial in validating analytics results as fit for purpose.
Q. How does it understanding the language that you use, and can the framework manage it actively to reduce ambiguity, redundancy, and inconsistency?
Big data might not have a logical data model, so any structured data should be mapped to the enterprise model. Big data still has context and thus modeling becomes increasingly important to creating knowledge and understanding. The definitions evolve over time and the enterprise must plan to manage the shifting meaning.
Q. Does it manage classification?
It is critical for the business/steward to classify the overall source and the contents within as soon as it is brought in by its owner to support of information lifecycle management, access control, and regulatory compliance.
Q. How does it protect data quality and access?
Your information protection must not be compromised for the sake of expediency, convenience, or deadlines. Protect not just what you bring in, but what you join/link it to, and what you derive. Your customers will fault you for failing to protect them from malicious links. The enterprise must formulate the strategy to deal with more data, longer retention periods, more data subject to experimentation, and less process around it, all while trying to derive more value over longer periods.
Q. Does it foster stewardship?
Ensuring the appropriate use and reuse of data requires the action of an employee. E.g., this role cannot be automated, and it requires the active involvement of a member of the business organization to serve as the steward over the data element or source.
Q. Does it manage long-term requirements?
Policies and standards are the mechanism by which management communicates their long-range business requirements. They are essential to an effective governance program.
Q. How does it manage feedback?
As a companion to policies and standards, an escalation and exception process enables communication throughout the organization when policies and standards conflict with new business requirements. It forms the core process to drive improvements to the policy and standard documents.
Q. Does it Foster innovation?
Governance must not squelch innovation. Governance can and should make accommodations for new ideas and growth. This is managed through management of the infrastructure environments as part of the architecture.
Q. How does it control third-party content?
Third-party data plays an expanding role in big data. There are three types and governance controls must be adequate for the circumstances. They must consider applicable regulations for the operating geographic regions; therefore, you must understand and manage those obligations.