Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sustainability and Data Governance

Baseline Consulting recently published a good white paper about Data Governance, called Sustainability A Green Model for Data Governance, written by Carol Newcomb, senior consultant of Baseline Consulting. She commented about the concepts of green and sustainability and why those concepts are important in a data governance program. According her, this is a traditional definition of sustainability: meeting present needs without compromising future generations’ ability to meet their needs. In other words, don’t use up all the resources today and leave none for tomorrow. Use your resources wisely and continuously reinvent yourself.

About Sustainability through Governance, she said: "A mature governance program is characterized by the ability to incorporate increasing amounts of metadata and results from ongoing data quality analyses, and then generate policies that enable control mechanisms to ensure consistent use of data across the enterprise. Key to successful data governance is the ability to make informed, rapid, responsive decisions so that the organization’s business components have sound data upon which to base their decisions."

"An effective data governance program empowers an organization to recognize and cultivate its abundant sources of transactional data, transforming data into strategic information for use in decision-making, risk management and external compliance activities. Without data governance, proliferation of data quality problems, definitional conflicts, lack of standardized transformation and storage, and inappropriate use—all contribute to enormous downstream burdens not only in data management, but in aligning the enterprise with its own strategic objectives. In short, sustainability equates with performance and profitability", she also said.

She defined a Sustainability Checklist, with some concepts that are critical to a sustainable data governance ecosystem:

- Use available resources wisely: data is plentiful, but it needs to be cultivated (like weeds).
- Develop only the data you want and store the rest.
- Don’t let data overwhelm the enterprise.
- Develop your stewardship organization.
- Nurture and develop the data that contributes value.
- Use data to grow new ideas, strengthen existing activities and achieve efficiencies.
- Maximize the data value.
- Deliver the value to business stakeholders.
- Reduce unnecessary waste: make efficient use of what you have.
- Reuse what you don’t want to throw away.
- Build economies of scale and drive out redundancy.
- Grow products, services and internal mechanisms that you trust.
- Design effective mechanisms to develop data resources.
- Fully develop your resources.
- Share resources across the enterprise.
- Design interactive feedback loops.
- Identify data quality problems and definitional gaps.
- Prioritize issues to resolve.
- Measure successes and failures.
- Understand and control the full lifecycle.
- Distinguish between short-term and long-term issues.
- Invest resources appropriately.
- Manage and monitor change.

"Discipline your governance organization to cultivate the value from your data—and the benefits of governance will be your business’s own investment in the future. Sustainability will be your gift to future generations", she concluded.

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