Big-Data Governance Moves up the IT Agenda

Michael Vizard, Journalist | 10/9/2013 | 18 comments

Michael Vizard
With so many big-data projects now underway across the enterprise, the next big challenge facing IT organizations is how to effectively manage that amount of data.

Big-data governance has suddenly become one of the hottest topics in IT as organizations turn their attention once again to the fundamentals of data management; except this time, it’s at a scale no one previously thought possible, or, for that matter, advisable.

Establishing big-data governance policies is critically important because the amount of data involved not only threatens to overwhelm IT organizations, but how that data gets used will actually determine the success of such projects. Specifically, organizations need to understand what type of data is valuable enough to keep as opposed to data that is expendable.

Unfortunately, a recent survey of 3,500 IT leaders conducted by TEKsystems, a provider of IT services, found that 66 percent of IT leaders and 53 percent of IT professionals said their data is stored in disparate systems and that they need new platforms to accommodate these increased data management needs.

In addition, 81 percent of IT leaders said their organization lacks the skills on staff to plan, build, and run big-data initiatives. That’s problematic because a separate survey of 1,000 Fortune 1,000 business and IT leaders conducted by NewVantage Partners found that half the executives surveyed said they would be spending more than $10 million on a big-data project by 2016.

"Companies are appointing chief data officers to drive innovation," Randy Bean, founder and managing partner for NewVantage Partners, told Enterprise Efficiency. "That means there’s also multiple tiers of governance with a lot of active IT participation."

Bean added that while certain types of big-data projects involving -- for example -- compliance, are defensive in nature, the majority of the investments being made in big-data these days are of an offensive nature. Knowing the difference between those classes of projects requires a lot of context.

For example, speaking at recent IBM Software event in New York, Michele Goetz, a senior analyst for Forrester Research, said rather than simply storing data for data’s sake simply because it’s now more affordable to do so using platforms such as Hadoop, organizations need to think through what data ultimately needs to be saved.

“All data is not created equal,” Goetz said. “Context is critical; governance needs to be a lot more about how you actually manage the business than the data.”

Speaking at the same event, Heather Wilson, chief data officer for AIG, added the real issue goes beyond simple governance. “The business has to have confidence in the data,” said Wilson. “That requires discipline.”

“There’s definitely a governance gap when it comes to big-data,” Henry Olson, director of product management for Embarcadero Technologies, a provider of big data tools, told us. "We think organizations will need to leverage metadata to close the gap."

Whatever the approach, IT organizations need to prepare to manage not only vast amounts of data at levels of scale previously thought unimaginable, but also an array of new big-data types that are increasingly finding their way into the enterprise.

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lboudreau   Big-Data Governance Moves up the IT Agenda   5/23/2014 4:25:42 PM
Re: Data driven decision making
A lot of advancements have been made and continue to make an impact. A unified comprehensive education data standard that ensures usability is key to the success of these programs. States need to take advantage of the data analysis that is being made available, turning education data into actionable information that can make an important difference in student achievement.


Linda Boudreau

The_Phil   Big-Data Governance Moves up the IT Agenda   5/21/2014 5:07:50 PM
Re: Data driven decision making
You have to also remember that a lot of the data taken into account in the education arena also leaves out tons of intergral factors in student performance. Take for example how student's home lives may be affecting their in-school performance. If there's no metric for that, we will simply continue looking at test scores wondering where the issues lie. Unfortunately, & often, the teachers get blamed.
lboudreau   Big-Data Governance Moves up the IT Agenda   5/21/2014 2:41:28 PM
Data driven decision making
Great post, thanks for sharing. Data-driven decision making and data governance will be one of the key factors in changing the future of one particular field: education. There is so much great work being done with data analysis and data linkage tools for the future of education. Linking K-12 data with college and career data will certainly have a positive, significant impact on student achievement.


Linda Boudreau

Data Ladder
Sara Peters   Big-Data Governance Moves up the IT Agenda   10/31/2013 4:19:48 PM
Re: DATA Trend
@Henrisha  I agree with you, that it would be great for people inside and outside of IT to get familiar with big data. Any ideas of how that preparation should differ between different departments or job functions?
Sara Peters   Big-Data Governance Moves up the IT Agenda   10/31/2013 4:17:51 PM
Re: DATA Trend
@shehan  That's an interesting point. Big data is not something that one can major in in college. When do you think education will catch up?
shehan   Big-Data Governance Moves up the IT Agenda   10/22/2013 11:49:01 AM
Re: DATA Trend
Well shakeeb what do you think? Is it because of the education system? I mean there's not much for degree programs forced specially on this concept.
batye   Big-Data Governance Moves up the IT Agenda   10/14/2013 3:04:46 AM
Re: should coulda woulda
good point... but many times mistakes get hidden under the carpet... and no one learn from them... sad reality...
batye   Big-Data Governance Moves up the IT Agenda   10/14/2013 3:03:43 AM
Re: DATA Trend
yes, good interesting article - this days everyone talks about big data...
shakeeb   Big-Data Governance Moves up the IT Agenda   10/11/2013 11:01:36 AM
Re: DATA Trend
"In addition, 81 percent of IT leaders said their organization lacks the skills on staff to plan, build, and run big-data initiatives." This statement is very true and relevant for many organizations.
shakeeb   Big-Data Governance Moves up the IT Agenda   10/11/2013 11:01:02 AM
Re: DATA Trend
@mike. As you correctly mentioned, accommodating the increased number data management needs is an important aspect. This mainly applies for organizations such as banks and hospitals since they deal with thousands of data records per day.
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