Quality, governance and the trustworthiness of data

imageFor the many years that I have been involved in the area of enterprise information management, I have seen organisations struggle with the issue of data quality over and over again. I have seen the IT departments struggling with the delivery of so called “Data Quality” projects, and I have also seen businesses struggling and complaining about not being able to get access to “Quality Data”.

Seeing that Data Quality technologies have matured over the years and SI’s have become reasonably good at delivering data quality projects, what exactly is the problem?

Among many different factors, I believe the two main reasons that organisations are still struggling with trusted data today are:

“Data Quality technology is not the only component needed to build and deliver trusted data at an enterprise level.

In order to gain trusted data, Business needs to be more involved in the Process along with IT”

That’s where Data Governance comes to the rescue. What data governance provides organisations is a more holistic view and framework in how they manage, control and leverage their data assets so their value can be maximised. It is the missing layer that links the necessary underlying data quality technology to the ultimate goal of trusted data. Specifically the layer that data governance inserts includes the people and process aspects that have been missing in the IT driven, pure data quality projects of the past.

What organisations have come to realise is that Trusted data depends on having a robust data governance framework and that a robust data governance framework will need a flexible, proven set of data quality tools to enforce the processes and rules. You can not have one without the other as they are intrinsically linked to each other.

There is no question that the detail of such undertakings and initiatives can be complex and extensive. If we just focused on the people aspects, things that organisations needs to come to grip now with include:

  • The right level of executive/board level support
  • The right organisational structure to support the initiatives
  • The identification and assignments of data stewards

As a starting point for anyone in charge of delivering any data governance initiatives, the people element is perhaps the most critical and important one to even get the projects off ground. Here are a couple of whitepapers that goes into more detail to help you get started.

I believe that the shift from data quality to data governance is a positive one. It has elevated the discussion to the executive level and is allowing organisations to think about important elements that were missing in previous discussions or projects.

With the right foundational components and the involvement of business through the appropriate process, I believe organisations will be one step closer to delivering trusted data throughout the enterprise.

tags: data quliaty, governance

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