Blogger: Lyn Robison
This is the question that was put to me recently by a Burton Group client (actually, a conference room full of clients). Their enterprise had grown through mergers, and now they had several installations of SAP, lots of redundant COTS software, hundreds of large databases, and more data than they knew what to do with. Where should they start to get a handle on all of their unmanaged data?
I suggested three things:
Seize the high ground of IT metrics. Make metrics for information quality and for data management maturity an integral part of the metrics that their IT department uses to measure itself. These metrics will serve as a rudder to steer the entire organization in the direction of managing heretofore unmanaged data.
Understand their business and its data. Model the business enough to understand it. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and data people must understand the relationships between the parts of the business. Then model the important data, so the data that the business requires and the data that the business has and the delta between what it has and what it needs becomes well-known.
Establish data governance processes. For topics or subjects that are important to their enterprise, define systems of record, and establish businesspeople as data stewards on important enterprise topics. Make sure that IT leadership can answer this question: How do you know that the right businesspeople know that they own the data?
These are good places to start getting a handle on unmanaged enterprise data.