Blogger: Lyn Robison
Follow-up to my previous entry: Enterprise IT can avoid the fate of the American auto makers by making an innovative course correction. (Even though this course correction is inexpensive, reasonable, and immediately profitable, some IT people will reject it out of hand.)
The course correction is simple: focus on information quality at the expense of IT production.
- Never call an IT project “done” until the data from and for the business is right, even if the project deadline is looming
- Never count an IT system as “up” unless it is currently delivering useful information to businesspeople, which means that IT groups must constantly measure the quality and usefulness of the business information that is coming from IT systems and count systems as “down” if the information is useless to businesspeople
- Allow (and encourage) everyone (both in business and in IT) to call out data quality problems on IT projects and in the ongoing operations of IT systems, which may very well result in project delays or system “down” time
- Execute MODS projects (MODS is the Methodology for Overcoming Data Silos), which are data management projects, not software or IT infrastructure projects, and which present huge bang for the buck in today’s IT environment. Today’s enterprises already have lots of software and IT infrastructure, but they lack useful business information, which makes the value of software or IT infrastructure projects low and the value of MODS projects high.
- Establish enterprise-class data governance, undertake master data management, and perform data modeling
- Create a data management organization and take a systems approach to enterprise data
- Adopt information quality metrics as the primary metrics for the IT organization
- (BTW, Burton Group's Data Management Strategies service provides guidance on all of these topics)
Many production-focused, technology-centric, dyed-in-the-wool IT veterans will be skeptical about focusing on information quality at the expense of their bread and butter. Most IT people have built their careers with bits and bytes, using heroic efforts to meet project deadlines, and doing whatever it takes to keep IT systems up and running, and they will be reluctant to let something as fluffy as “information quality” become an impediment to their production.
American auto makers have faced this question of quality vs. production for the past 30 years, and they have chosen poorly enough to have their customers gradually abandon them. Enterprise IT now faces that same choice.
Those enterprise IT groups that correctly choose quality over production will find themselves ideally positioned to leverage the technology commoditization that cloud computing will bring. They will deliver the high-quality business information that their customers demand, and they will deliver that information using commodity technology from the cloud.