Over the past few weeks of client interactions, it’s becoming more common for Chief Data Officers (CDOs) to “own” the data lake initiative in enterprises. The data warehouse and mart environments stay with the CIO’s team. This creates a massive amount of tension within the organization and leads to competition between groups that should be collaborating. It also leads to data lake failures.
CDOs, often new to the role, are eager to claim ownership of data lakes because they’re hyped as an innovation center and these new executives want to put their stamp on a cool new thing. The goals are typically vague, like “democratizing data access” or creating some single version of the truth by combining systems of record in the lake. These CDOs approach the challenge as a purely technical one, forgetting that data silos are a reflection of the organization that created them. Without broad buy-in across the enterprise, including the CIO, CDOs face an uphill battle.
Unless CDOs work with the CIO and carry a solid data management practice into their data lake implementation, success is unlikely. And based on hundreds of client interactions over the past couple years, data lake successes are hard enough to come by. Give yourself a better chance at success by collaborating.
This pattern is only one of the data lake failure scenarios we’ve seen. Adam Ronthal and I recently published a research note on how to avoid data lake failures, which includes a number of other patterns. If you’re a Gartner client embarking on a data lake implementation, I encourage you to give it a read. If you don’t, I look forward to speaking with you about your failed data lake in 6-8 months.