Andrew White

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Andrew White
Research VP
8 years at Gartner
22 years IT industry

Andrew White is a research vice president and agenda manager for MDM and Analytics at Gartner. His main research focus is master data management (MDM) and the drill-down topic of creating the "single view of the product" using MDM of product data. He was co-chair… Read Full Bio

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How to Measure Success with Information Governance?

by Andrew White  |  December 18, 2013  |  1 Comment

I had two awesome end user client questions last week that warrant significant attention:

  1. How do you measure how effective your data governance is? What are the industry standards/benchmarks
  2. How to make sure stewardship, once we go live, is successful?

Both questions are not new; many Gartner analysts get these questions most weeks.  But they do tend to focus the mind.  The first question is complex.  On the one hand, we all need to be able to show that our information governance programs add value to the organization.  And too many end users assume that by reporting on the “number of customer records de-duped” is good enough to show this value.  Oops.

Given that IG programs, and I include MDM as one example), really does not exist stand-alone, and given that they are often in support of other business initiatives, perhaps we should change the question.  It might be unfair to try to demonstrate business value direct from an IG program.  Perhaps we should be looking at how IG helps information-based or information-centric business initiatives are liberated or enabled to do what they are supposed to do.

For example, the role out of a CRM program, spanning sales, service and marketing, and perhaps centered on customer 360 view leveraging social and big data, is clearly going to be dependent on the effective governance of customer (and other) data.  If the MDM of customer data program fails, the overall investment clearly won’t deliver the value period or delivery the value at a cost that makes the investment less than competitive.  So perhaps MDM (and IG) should be judged as a key gate or enabler for this initiative.  It is only one gate or enabler, but it’s a big one.  Something else in the overall CRM program might fail, even if IG works well. 

The second question is somewhat related to the first.  This second question happens to be my favorite for 2013.  I was on stage in Barcelona, Spain, and Los Angeles, USA, at our MDM Summits this year and I said that “making information governance ‘stick’ “ is the biggest single challenge this year.  This challenge may persist into 2014 too.  I offer up a couple of tips that are part of ongoing research, that you will see covered in more detail in 2014:

Considerations to help assure that information stewardship (information policy enforcement) is sustained once go-live:

  • Are the stewardship processes embedded in normal business processes?  Are they transparent?
  • Is the work of stewardship business consumable?  Did business people design the work and how they want to interact with each other and systems doing the work?

For me, these the very large gaps in the vendor and technology markets, related to all of information governance, and not limited to MDM.  The vast majority of my direct IG work is related to MDM, and it is a great example of where IG (of master data) is a critical element.  And after talking with hundreds, even thousands of users and program managers, these gaps are real and holding back success with MDM.  You might have some other ideas.  I’d love to hear them.

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