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Jul 07

Ask the CIO: What’s your data management strategy?

Posted by LaurenB44 in IBMdata management

It’s 2009: do you know what your data management strategy is?

Maybe you’re sizing up offerings from vendors such as D&B Purisma, DataFlux, or Siperian or going larger with something like IBM’s InfoSphere. Or, you might have attended a conference on Master Data Management and want to take your program to the next step.


It could be that you’re just getting started, maybe thinking not about technology but sorting through the IT aspects of an overall data governance strategy. I’d be curious to see what you’re doing with your data.  (I know, it sort of sounds like a punch line—it’s not meant as a quip.)

This week, in doing research for a write up on Master Data Management and how it’s progressed despite various challenges along the way, some interesting stats bubbled to the surface. Of the financial services firms polled by The MDM Institute in 2005 (which represents the most recent industry-specific information, according to Institute founder Aaron Zornes, and is still representative) 90% of respondents indicated that central data integration was either critical, or central,  to reducing infrastructure investments. Central data management system as a “common method and rules across the entire company” was planned by 85% of respondents.

I chose the financial services industry-related data because insurance companies and banks, reported on by me during a stint ABA Banking Journal, often takes the lead in various forms of tech adoption.  This is particularly the case when it comes to data accuracy and security, given the compliance burden on the industry.

Undoubtedly, the recession has interrupted—or scaled back—some MDM-related work. But as Aaron Zornes said during an interview just before the July 4th holiday, “It’s not as if projects like risk management or Anti-Money Laundering, or Know Your Customer can wait until the economy improves.” Some work  just has to go forward—rain, shine, or economic downturn.

According to that research, IT professionals were clearly looking to central data integration as a long-term and large IT initiative that would provide career longevity, in that it wasn’t amenable to offshore outsourcing.

This makes sense. MDM is valuable to an organization and painstaking work, requiring a systematic approach in IT management as well as a clear business vision.  

Zornes’ research also indicated that the most effective best practice recommendations are similar to any large-scale IT initiative that is critical to the operation:

* Map CDI business requirements to the existing technology portfolio

* Determine build vs. buy

* Manage technical evaluation focused on customer data model, business services, and identity management

* Execute scale-relevant proof of concept

To that, Claudia Kuzma, business development manager,  InfoTrellis, a consulting organization that focuses on MDM projects, headquartered in Toronto, would add: “Gain executive sponsorship and align organizational strategy to MDM with correct allocation of personnel and longer term investment in infrastructure and services with a partner who has skilled domain technical and business expertise in MDM.”  It sounds like the kind of IT project that can make a difference. I hope a good data management project is in your future.                                       
Comments (1)Add Comment
Charles Burleigh
written by Charles Burleigh, July 07, 2009
Claudia Kuzma really hit the nail on the head when she said, "Gain executive sponsorship...". I think that is the key to getting any MDM or data governance initiative signed off, funded and started this year.

For example, I just read a job requisition for a Data Analyst position. This position reports to the Marketing department. Part of the responsibilities of the data analyst were, "check with other departments to ensure accuracy of data". To me that screams Customer Data Integration. When I talked to the Director of Marketing he said, "I've been trying to get them to integrate customer data since I came here 3 years ago!"

Without CxO sponsorship, MDM and data governance will be just another IT project.

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