By Noreen Kendle
A few years ago I would not have questioned data managements fit as an IT function. As data continues to gain recognition through initiatives such as master data management, service oriented architecture and business intelligence, IT departments have been challenged with understanding, managing, and governing the data. Many of my fellow data professionals who have been involved with data ownership/governance initiatives have expressed the difficulty of getting the business to take ownership of the data. This is one of several reasons I have begun to question ITs role in data management. Why is it ITs job to “get” the business to own what they already own? There is something backwards about that.
Data is a representation of the organization. The organization uses this representation, the data to operate record, manage, report and plan. Organizations have been creating and using data long before computers were ever thought of. Data is clearly a business asset, not an IT asset as is hardware or software. Prior to computerization, the business owned, managed, understood and governed their data assets.
Information technology is about effectively applying technology to the organizations data/information assets in order to help the organization reach its goals. Just as machine technology can be applied to a manufacturing process, information technology can be applied to a business process. The products that flow through the machine technology are never considered part of that technology or the responsibility of the machine technologist. Products are considered a business owned asset. So why has data and its responsibilities an IT function? Data is clearly a business asset and most likely one of their most important assets. It’s becoming clear to me that the responsibilities for data belong in a business department, not IT. The functions involving applying technology to the data asset, such as a DBMS, should remain the responsibility of an IT department.