By Rex Ahlstrom, BackOffice Associates
As enterprises enter the New Year, many are reflecting on the initiatives that enabled them to get their data houses in order in 2014 -- whether through data migrations, M&A consolidation activities or data quality projects -- and considering their next steps. Transitioning into 2015, these organizations are poised to continue their data journeys by implementing information governance programs designed to yield sustainable valuable business outcomes.
To determine and leverage strategic data-driven opportunities for the coming year, enterprises should take stock of the latest data trends and how they can successfully harness the benefits. Here are four data governance trends to watch in 2015:
Moving Beyond Master Data Management
Many enterprises have benefited from the industry’s shift from solely using traditional master data management to implementing broader, higher-performing information governance environments. This trend will continue to take hold in 2015 as companies adopt more holistic data-focused technologies, including moving away from traditional point MDM solutions and embracing a more comprehensive view of managing enterprise data across multiple data domains.
We expect more companies to embrace this consolidated, flexible approach as 2015 unfolds and as they seek to implement business process governance in addition to data governance. Key information governance benefits, when executed properly, include enabling enterprises to quickly synthesize diverse data sources and make transformative business and data decisions.
Rise of Data Orchestration
Taking information governance a step further, the rise of comprehensive data orchestration strategies is another major trend helping enterprises execute effective data management and advocacy throughout entire organizations - ensuring people, tools and processes are moving toward an ultimate goal of seamless data quality.
This macro approach encompasses all aspects of data management and eliminates any siloes within organizations where data may be treated separately. Requiring complete executive buy-in and involvement to ensure proper protocols, dedicated employee roles and technologies, as well as integrations, this higher state of data management is considered "the holy grail" on the maturity curve as it transforms information governance into a repeatable business process. While many processes and technologies must align, it is absolutely an achievable goal with the right priorities in place.
Cross-Functional Ownership in Data Technologies
Accountability for and ownership of data-focused technologies is no longer only in the CIO or chief data officer’s wheelhouse. Especially with the ever-increasing adoption of cloud-based solutions, this responsibility has expanded to include business unit and departmental leaders too.
This change is making data management enablement more of a cross-functionally invested initiative across organizations as operational areas such as finance, human capital management and marketing now play a greater role in selecting and utilizing data automation technologies. That’s not to say that the CIO or data manager’s role is diminished; rather it becomes more of a collaboration with IT and data leaders providing much-needed guidance to ensure proper technological alignment with business needs.
We expect to see even more examples of this trend develop as many departments are discovering that data is one of their most valuable assets and can be utilized to drive untapped revenue opportunities and operational efficiencies.
Hybrid Cloud Adoption Improves Data Governance
Enterprises’ increased adoption of hybrid public and private cloud environments and apps has presented further opportunities for improving enterprise information governance. One reason is that cloud-hosted data is often categorized differently and is hosted in multiple places versus on-premise solutions, thus creating more data complexities that require proper rules and governance that also align with existing on-premise technologies.
If managed well, the cloud can provide significant flexibility and increase the usability of data, but the significance of establishing an effective information governance program and maintaining data quality cannot be underestimated.
Companies looking into the New Year are no doubt evaluating how to improve upon 2014 with the latest data offerings and strategies available. The good news is that the data management market is quickly maturing to offer more holistic technologies and approaches that enable enterprises to quickly synthesize data from multiple types of sources, as well as include constituents from multiple lines of business in unison with the CIO and chief data officer.
These trends present significant opportunities for establishing best-in-class information governance and ultimately data orchestration programs that not only drive consistent, trusted data quality and analytic results, but also yield predictable bottom-line business outcomes.
Rex Ahlstrom is chief strategy officer at BackOffice Associates, a worldwide leader in information governance and data migration solutions, focusing on helping customers manage one of their most critical assets – data.