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Technology Value of Maintaining Governance Awareness

This blog is a continuation on the Value of Maintaining Governance Awareness, but the focus is on the technology side of the house, over the business side. There are several areas in which technology really suffers from not knowing ‘who uses what data from where?’ Basic issues such as:

1. Ensuring the right stakeholders are in business requirement sessions.
2. Knowing who needs to be informed when there are data issues.
3. Knowing who needs to be informed when there are changes to database structures or code values.
4. Understanding the distinction between Application Owner and Data Owner.
5. Knowing who needs to participate in discussions on changing the system of record for a class of data.

In an ideal world, business constituents would have these answers and could accurately convey them to their IT counterparts. In reality this rarely happens. At best, very well-meaning business staff will provide insight in the awareness of ‘source and use’ of data based on tribal knowledge that is so often outdated. The common thread is that the IT staff are tasked to figure out who the needed stakeholders are for data discussions. Fair or right is not a relevant question, for this is reality across most of the clients in which we work.

Requirement gathering and issue resolution with the wrong group of people is wasteful at best. We have so often seen that data issues are resolved in a vacuum, leading to operational risk or unexpected regulatory issues across a company caused by a fundamental lack of awareness of data definition and use. What is really a communication problem, turns quickly into a technology and political problem.

Lack of awareness, leading to lack of communication results in pure waste and inefficiencies. We read often about Lean Thinking and attempts to re-frame the information architecture of a company as an information factory. No factory can operate successfully if the source and use of raw materials is not precisely known.

Data Governance and Information Governance efforts need to follow the same rigor as seen in today’s modern manufacturing plants. Data needs to be labeled (classified) and responsibility and accountability defined. MetaGovernance follows a very simplistic classification scheme for data, grouping hundreds or thousands of data attributes into subject areas of data. Our governance methodology then categorizes the relationship of data to business in one of the governance roles of owner, delegate, consumer, auditor, or custodian.

This basic relationship between a subject area of data, an organization group, and a governance role is the foundation for Awareness. Given that these relationships are dynamic as systems, organizations and processes evolve, Awareness cannot be maintained in a spreadsheet. Metadata linkages is the only viable solution.

Maintaining and Visualizing Awareness is at the heart of MetaGovernance, a firm started a decade ago for the primary purpose of putting a governance framework across the disparate silos of metadata and incorporating this framework into automated data controls. Our passion is solving complex data and information problems.

Now back to the Technology Value of Maintaining Governance Awareness…imagine that you are technology department and you have at your fingertips accurate, metadata-driven awareness of which department uses what data from which system, and which department is the true owner (subject matter expert). Gone are the missed communications and incomplete requirements, for all relevant stakeholders have contributed.

MetaGovernance is a process and technology company dedicated to solving this specific problem. The Awareness Matrix is a window into the metadata relationships between the Business Architecture, Information Architecture, and Data Architecture of an organization. This blog series will continue to explore these relationships and the business and technical value to be realized.