Data modelers, Your move governor

Fifteen years ago I was entrenched in a large data warehousing effort. The project sponsors were well aware of the need and value of data governance. As the project data architect, I worked closely with the data governance team. The good news was that data governance was managed well and quite a successful deployment.

At the same time, IT management tasked a senior business systems analyst and me to improve the understanding of databases, data models, and data in the IT development staff. This is not an unusual task to assign a data modeler. What made this initiative unique was the fact that both of us had spent considerable time over the past few years working closely with our fledgling data governance processes.

I confess freely that I love to “borrow” ideas that work rather than reinvent the wheel. The data governance processes and experiences were ripe for picking for our effort. Data governance at that time was solely focused on the business and business deployment of metadata and data through the enterprise data warehouse. However, they could be easily transferred to IT speak and usage.

Our end deliverables were processes that focused on governing the physical IT data assets and managing them across our development methodology. The centerpiece of our effort was defining a role of IT data steward that was responsible for the health and wellbeing of data as it moved through the development lifecycle.

Fifteen years ago, data governance was seen as a luxury and optional process on projects. Leadership was aware of the value but support from upper management was weak or nonexistent. Today, we are in a new world where data is seen as an enterprise asset and is exposed in growing numbers in the enterprise and to external partners and customers. Data governance is essential in assuring this asset is safe, sound and reliable.

Why am I sharing this flashback today? This experience taught me that although data governance is business driven; its success depends heavily on partnerships with the IT staff. If your job title has the word “data” in it, it is a sure sign that you should be working on data governance.  I will leave you with some thoughts on how IT data folks serve in the role of IT data steward.

  1. We deliver the single truth of data, the enterprise meaning of accurate and reliable data.
  2. We are the guardians of data quality. Quality business data begins with quality IT data.
  3. We are the sentinels of data privacy, security and compliance.
  4. We look for the source of data and trace it though our data stores and applications.
  5. We govern the policies, standards and architecture of data, databases and data models.
  6. We solve data problems. We help people understand where they can get the data they need.
  7. We give data a voice and speak to its value and importance in the enterprise.
  8. We bridge the business and IT data divide.

Tom Bilcze

I am presenting at Enterprise Data World 2014 in Austin, Texas.  I hope that you will join me in my session: And Other Duties as Assigned – Embracing New Roles to Grow in Your Enterprise. #EDW14

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