I had the good fortune of speaking at two briefings last week – one in Dallas and the other in Houston. The sun was out, the heat was on, and the conversations with clients was awesome. I was presenting on sustaining and updating a business relevant digital information strategy.
As part of the briefing the analyst attending also participate in 1-1’s with attendees. So even though I spoke as part of the event, I also took part in a number of 1-1’s in both locations. All told I had about 20 1-1’s or individual conversations with attendees. I was amazed to note that in about 75% of the conversations, “data lakes” were mentioned. Sometimes this was the main focus of the conversation; other times it was part of the wider need to manage, govern and/or exploit information but also analytics.
What was even more interesting was the emergent uniformity in question and understanding of the data lake and the lack of information governance. It seems the idea that a data lake is just a place to collect data – all kinds of data in any state – is becoming quite widespread. For those firms that have played with a data lake another notable discovery pops up quite quickly:
- A data lake does not, alone, bring with it any capability to support the broad topic of information governance; and with no information governance, the ability to re-use and exploit further insight on someone else’s work, cannot take place.
- Vendor’s in and around the data lake space are all now talking about “governance” or “information governance” – even if it means a PowerPoint slide update. In some cases it might go as far as talking about metadata management and even, if you are lucky, “data lineage”.
It seems we have quite a bit of discovery to develop:
- What exactly is information governance?
- What range of technology capability is needed to sustain information governance?
- How does information governance change in a data lake/big data situation versus a traditional data warehouse, or even operational business application environment?
This will keep us all quite busy for a while, I would think.