If you asked a random sample of CIOs how they feel about their data strategy, most would probably respond that it’s in good shape. They’ve implemented data warehousing, business analysts have access to BI repositories and tools, data security is tight, and they may even have a data governance function in place. Generally, they recognize information as a strategic asset and they attempt to manage it as such.
One claim that very few can make, however, is that the business has timely, consistent, and reliable access to all sources of data, and confidence that the data they do have access to is the “single version of the truth.”
In a series of articles to follow I’ll present some approaches to ensure that critical data assets are made available as appropriate, and that they can be managed to ensure that the information they convey is accurate and consistent across the enterprise . I’ll talk about how to ensure that all consumers get data that is semantically accurate, values are consistent and timely, and access is reliable.
Just to get a potential distraction out of the way, I recognize that “data” and “information” are different. Data are plain facts, which may be useful in raw form, but more often are used to derive “information”. Information is formed by using data in context, aggregated, translated, organized, and otherwise processed to provide meaning. And from information comes Knowledge!
Managing data and making it available for consumption is the most challenging responsibility that any IT organization faces. Master data, transactional data, reference data, and historical data are the lifeblood of an organization. Whether the organization is in the “information business” (e.g., Schwab, Dow Jones) or if the organization depends on accurate and timely data to delivers its products and services (e.g., WalMart, Harley Davidson), data forms the basis of strategic planning and daily operational decisions. Quite literally, the success or failure of a business is dependent on the management of its data.
The answer (or, enabler) to provide fast and reliable access to accurate and complete views of enterprise data is a synergistic combination of SOA + DVL + MDM + EDW + BI that form powerful Enterprise Data Services. In the next series of articles I’ll talk about each of these and how to implement them such that the sum creates a powerful IT service that becomes a core business service.
I think it’s probably worth noting at the outset: the data service, or components of the service, may be implemented in Clouds – IaaS (Infrastructure Clouds), PaaS (Platform Clouds), SaaS (Application Clouds), etc. I’ll elaborate on the Cloud issue as we dive deeper.
Stay tuned. . . And for those of you on Twitter, I’ll announce posting of the next article via my Twitter account.