Svetlana Sicular

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Svetlana Sicular
Research Director
1 year at Gartner
19 years IT industry

Svetlana Sicular has a uniquely combined experience of Fortune 500 IT and business leadership, product management at world-class software vendors, and Big Four consulting. She primarily handles inquiries in the areas of data management strategy, ...Read Full Bio

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Data Governance Is the New Black

by Svetlana Sicular  |  September 7, 2012  |  Comments Off

I cover big data and data governance.  Both are equally challenging and both promise to save the world.  Until recently, I had a false idea, that one of these topics is mainstream and another one is on sidelines for everyone other than me and a dozen people like Andrew White or Joe Bugajski. The latter is the first known Chief Data Officer in world history.

At recent Catalyst, my one-on-ones were overwhelmingly about data governance.  I met several Chief Data Officers. They were real. Their role is increasingly important in the data-driven economy. My data governance workshop was sold out, its 90 minutes went by, but people kept discussing their problems, solutions and breakthroughs. One attendee even accurately folded and took with him a flip-chart sheet with the notes made during the session.

      The Data Governance Workshop

      The Data Governance Workshop

I witnessed fascinating data governance problems: mapping GIS coordinates to unique addresses (including high-rises!) for 911, dealing with a data governance counsel of 300 members, classifying the data (“Yes, it’s a good idea,” – “Currently, all our information is top secret.”).  Too much red tape, ignored grey areas or situations, code named at Gartner “my CEO looks bad in orange”, make data governance the new black.

Even my one-on-ones on big data were about data governance. These were conversations with people from end-user organizations: financial, government, utilities, mainly, household names.  In their view, Internet companies understand big data technology, but they don’t understand what it’s like to operate in a regulated industry (a pseudo-tweet).  My big data governance conversations were about:

  • The importance of metadata
  • Data retention policies
  • How to treat external sources?
  • What to do with information for sale?
  • Where is dark data?
  • What might happen to privacy when you link a variety of data?
  • What business units in the organization might be running a Hadoop cluster and how many? Not nodes, but Hadoop clusters in silos.

We discussed how to make big data a part of enterprise information management strategy, rather than creating a separate strategy for big data.

Big data governance is a huge issue.  Choose where to pause at your discretion:
“big data…governance” or “big…data governance.”  Or just omit the pause.

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