I was talking with a bank the other day and we agreed on something that, to me at least, was an interesting “ah ha” moment that happened to play into a hot topics today in general. The topic in general is – what is information governance and why and where is information stewardship different?
The point where this distinction became clear to me (the ‘ah ha”, I guess) relates to 3rd party reference data. Many banks will source reference data (lists of instruments or product definitions for regulatory reporting purposes; external price points for commodity trading; even customer definition lists) and use that data within their business systems, as well as data warehouses for reporting. This data is often sourced from several 3rd parties – and in some cases the data is used to compare to others, in order to come up with a truest, usable consolidated set of reference data.
Information Governance won’t know up front that some data will be sourced externally, or internally. But Information Governance would (and should) sign-off on the proposal that says, as part of the proposed MDM or Information Governance program, some data is to be managed from within, while some other data is to be managed from without. The source, the development of the definition of the 3rd party data, won’t be done by the internal team. They will make assumptions, and test them against that 3rd party data. Thus the work that “goes into” the policy setting will differ to the data that is to be managed from within.
But the point that came out in our conversation was this (and I paraphrase):
- You don’t govern trusted 3rd party data the same way you need to govern your own internally generated and mastered information (assets), and
- You do need to emphasize stewardship of 3rd party data, and in fact very probably treat it as any other internally generated and governed information (assets).
Stewardship is about policy enforcement. As such the source of data will influence the tools and practices we use to monitor and enforce policy related to this data, but we will still monitor that data, and its use, quality, performance etc. We were hard pressed to find any major difference – lessening or increasing – of the work of stewardship given the data was obtained from a 3rd party.
I think my conclusions make sense here – but I am not 100% sure. What do you think? Anyone seen anything differently, either at the detailed or less granular level?