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Book Review: Selling Information Governance to the business, by Sunil Soares (IBM), MC Press, 2011

by Andrew White  |  July 25, 2012  |  Comments Off on Book Review: Selling Information Governance to the business, by Sunil Soares (IBM), MC Press, 2011

Information governance is a hot topic in IT today.  It has been important but with the rise of “big data” and dark data and all manner of pending opportunities, competition knowledge, and compliance issues pervading the information landscape, IG is once again back in vogue.  But selling it to the business is hard to do.  Normally anything to do with data ends up being IT’s problem; and anyway, IG tends to be seen by business users as something IT worries about in terms of access, security, controls, and “big brother” efforts.  This book does a nice job of listing numerous examples and case studies where organizations have or can demonstrate increased business value through managing information differently.  As such this book is recommended.  Spanning public sector and several commercial or for profit industries, there are lots of good ideas here for you to peruse.  I myself wrote a similar, albeit much shorter “note”, some years ago highlighting where Master Data Management can add value to the business.  This book is more complete than that.

But the one problem with the book is the title which goes someway to explain IBM’s positioning of MDM and IG with respect to information management.  Correctly Soares explains how you can “do” IM without doing IG, but you can’t do IG without IM.  IM is the physical tasks you undertake with technology to actively manage the data.  IG is defined as the strategy, the discipline, for determining how to get more value from that information.  That is not how we define IG.  For us, the main strategy is Enterprise Information Management.  And part of EIM is IG, which is about the determination of policy and rules about how to enforce actions to exploit said value.  So when this book says, “selling IG” it really should say, “selling EIM”.   Better yet, fully 70% of the examples in the book on “IG” are in fact Master Data Management, but from different industry perspectives and for different data domains.  The book then glosses over a major complexity for many users.  How to actually shift from the narrow scope of MDM (for that is one reason why MDM works) to a broader EIM strategy since many examples infer or relate to other data used with master data.  These last two points helps explain why in IBM’s marketing, MDM is often positioned (in its IG framework), not as part of the governance process but more of a technology to do the physical data management.  And Soares says exactly that in the book – MDM is a IM discipline, not an IG discipline.  I would have to disagree.  You can’t do MDM and not do IG (focused on master data) but you can do IM (on master data) and not do MDM.  Notwithstanding the title issues, and how IBM thus confuses what it is we are talking about, the book is great stuff and well worth the time to draw out the examples that will help you build a better business case for getting more value from information.  Recommended 8 out of 10.

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Category: enterprise-information-management-eim  ibm  master-data-management  

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

Andrew White is a Distinguished Analyst and VP. His roles include Chief of Research and Content Lead for Data and Analytics. His main research focus is data and analytics strategy, platforms, and governance. Read Full Bio

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