In preparation for our upcoming Gartner Symposium season I thought it might be interesting and helpful to share my current top 5 emerging best practices for Enterprise Information Management – EIM – a program used to get more from all your data and analytics initiatives such as Master Data Management, BI/analytics, application data management, or data management, or information governance, etc. These are the most frequently asked and discussed issues that clients are talking about today. I expect these might be popular at Symposium this year. They all have been more or less popular over the years but here is the current way of looking at them. So, in no particular order, here they are.
- Strategy – Think Big, Act Small, Just Start
- Most organizations do not have the time or money to pay a consultant to develop a 200+ page report that determines the ultimate strategy. There is no such need. Strategy itself has gone through a lot of changes. A more effective approach, for many more organizations, is a 1-2 page business-relevant, information (data and analytics) and technology strategy. Note I did not say, “IT” since “IT” tends to mean “T” and not “I”. It’s much more effective (for many firms) to just get started with a workable, credible, value-driving initiative and evolve the strategy as you go. You might start with an MDM program across one or multiple business units; you might start with a domain specific analytics program; you might need aspects of analytics and MDM for an IoT initiative. Just don’t try to do it all – and don’t think about the whole plan for the next 5 years to the same degree of effort.
- Metrics – Start with Outcome and Work your Way to Data
- Talking of outcome – don’t focus your data and analytics program or initiative on data or analytics quality. Start – and end – with a manic focus on business outcomes. The reason should be self-evident: We are only here to make a difference – so when we want to consider changing systems or behavior, we need to ensure that folks want to make that change. IF we are focused on “good idea” things but “not that relevant to me” ideas, we have little to no chance to make the change. So align your efforts with what is important to the organizations now. Scope later efforts that align to future goals. We have enough smart architects around to help us be smart with this stuff.
- Governance – Cancel Governance Meetings and Go Do The Work in Business Meetings
- One sure way to lose some friends is to invite them to a data governance meeting! So let’s cancel all the data governance meetings. Instead, let’s go the operations meeting, or the marketing meeting, or the customer service meeting, or the supply chain meeting, and let’s look out for the part of the conversation that touches on a decision, business process or outcome held hostage to bad data or analytics. Note that those few minutes that occur in every business meeting represent the work of information governance. It’s just that most folks don’t think this way. Once folks spot this, they might realize that there is synergy in merging this repeated, isolated work under one umbrella: a new business meeting that looks at outcomes held hostage to data.
- Organization – Be Explicit about the Work that Needs to be Done
- Too often we get caught up with names: BICC, Analytics competency center, MDM competency center, DICC and it goes on and on. To avoid the politics and since we cannot answer the question the same question from year to year, forget the naming game and instead explicitly note the work of “policy setting”, “policy enforcement”, and “data maintenance”. Note that the first two are expensive and business focused; the third is cost-based and should be automated, even outsourced. Once you have identified the work, and who needs to do it, then worry about a cute name.
- Stewardship – Hire Information Stewards from and inside line-of-business
- One of my favorites: Where the rubber of information governance meets the road. Organizations that get this right are onto a winner. Even though we have tried to preserve the word “steward” to mean something special and specific, the name has been messed up by vendors and consultants galore. But we know what works now: line-function “power users”, for a few minutes a week, with new solutions can handle all the real business processes and decisions held hostage to date. This is the coal-face of information governance – where policy is enforced and from where process improvement and value is driven.
We have a whole team of analysis that can help with any and all of these top 5 items – and they will likely change somewhat over the coming months. Certainly the position – even if the categories remain consistent. So if you want to talk about them more, let’s help with an inquiry. Failing that, I look forward to meeting you at Symposium so we can talk about these – and your specific concerns – in more detail.
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