Category Archives: Information Management

#INFOARCH – INFORMATION OWNERSHIP

While I am preparing to publish my next article on Information Management and taking the opportunity of a email discussion with Jean Evelette – the author of the very interesting website MARS – Metadata And Repository System – I realized that a clarification regarding information ownership was needed. Here is the famous question:

question-mark

Who is owning the information?

I will not go into the philosophical debate whether or not the information should be owned…. Let’s say that for a practical matter, information needs, at least, to have a responsible at each point in its lifecycle (note that the responsibility may change overtime).

Such question deserves me to answer in 2 steps:
First, refering to my previous post: #INFOARCH – POST 2. THE STARTING POINTthe enterprise CIO is the owner of the Information Framework. The enterprise CIO is the Responsible (see RASCI model) to make the “implementation of the Information Governance accordingly to the defined Framework.” happen. e.g.: the CIO is the one responsible to have core information owners appointed (so called Master Data in our context – see the following post: MASTER DATA – SHORT DEFINITION ).

Then, this “owner” term is really sensitive especially since with the ownership comes the responsibilities… Most of the time, should I say always? ;), when we mention ownership, the discussion between who is owning what is coming right away…

The answer is quite simple to me:
Of course, the content (that we could also call “value” from a coder perspective 😉 ) is to be owned by the “Business people” (such as R&D engineers, buyers…)
But, in the other hand, the structure of the information (cf. its metadata and the way each information objects are connected to each others – so called information models) is to be owned by the CIO’s organization.

So, yes, at the end of the day, it is a shared responsibility that we are talking about. Shared, but not blurred responsibility, each party has a very clear and defined responsibility mission (see above). As always, one of the key is that each party stick to is own responsibility, without trying to fool his/her partner by either trying to overtake his/her counterpart responsibility or on the opposite way: trying to push his/her partner his own part of the work (without formal agreement/delegation first).

Having this in mind, you’ll be ready for my next post… coming soon 🙂

General Note: I use Information instead of “Data”, this semantic difference is important since I am distinguishing between several levels of Information, the classical: Conceptual, logical and physical levels, where the Data is at the Physical level only.

#InfoArch – Post 2. The starting point

diagnosis
As often, we needed to start somewhere. The main idea here was about “marking the starting point” and formalize it, in order to be able to come back and measure what has been achieved later on during the journey. So, as a starting point, we performed a survey, involving stakeholders across every different main organizations (or functions) of the enterprise. Here is an extract of the main outputs of this survey (snapshot taken at the beginning of the initiative).

 The diagnosis

As a general comment, up to now, no corporate structure existed for a business driven approach to manage Core information of the group (so called Master Data, see our definition) and their life-cycle cross different organisations, processes or functions.

Here is an extract of this survey, giving a rough picture of the perceived situation. Diagnosis of the starting point situation (2011):

  • Some organizations (within the enterprise) did make impressive Master Data efforts within their area of responsibility, but, so far, nothing has been coordinated (across these organizations).
  • Master Data are handled inside organizations, to be more specific, inside each and any IT applications. This practice leads to high complexity, redundancy and inconsistency. At the end of the day, such practice (let’s call it “silo practice”) has, of course, high IT cost impact.
  • Information Management / MDM is not in focus as a discipline
  • The existing IT Governance organization has a strong focus on solutions & infrastructure – NOT on MD Governance as discipline.
  • No pro-active and commanding Portfolio Management (e.g.: Project Portfolio Management, Application Portfolio Management) taken a MD view in existing scope and approach.
  • Lack of KPI´s and measures for Master Data discipline.
  • Lack of Management focus on Master Data.
  • Transformation’s roadblocks, due to problem with information harmonization, transparency & availability, exists to achieve the wishing Business Model.
  • No enterprise standard is appointed (nor used) to document / communicate regarding the Master Data (e.g.:information models, class diagrams…).
  • No organization exists to escalate MD issues and pain-points – who to call?
  • Master Data issues are today a problem in many projects, and organizations across the enterprise.

Recommendations

  • Master Data must be governed and managed through-out their entire life-cycles with joint responsibility by Business and IT – as a core asset.
  • Governance of core Master Data entities used cross the whole enterprise must be established.
  • The enterprise CIO is responsible to make it happen.
  • Management of Master Data is to be established and treated as a discipline.
  • Management of Common Master Data should focus on core business information entities that have highest degree of reuse and commonality across the enterprise and be based on demands from an end-to-end process view.
  • Information Management/MDM must be addressed to Top Management as a core and strategic area for business & IT improvements
  • Management of enterprise common information Entities must be considered as one key area of the Process & IT portfolio Management accross the whole enterprise.

Next post of the serie

Break the conventional thinking… coming soon. Stay tuned.

#InfoArch – Master Data – Short definition

definition

Master Data is the core information, that is needed, to Manage and Operate the Company businesses. Master Data is a Core asset for Enterprise/Company. As such, it has to be Governed and Managed properly. Customer, Product, Supplier and Financial information entities are typical examples of some very essential Master Data. They need to have a common information structure & definitions, the right level of quality, accuracy and availability to enable the Enterprise/Company to achieve its strategic objectives such as Customer Satisfaction, Profitability and Operational excellence.

Iceberg

Considering Master Data should not avoid you to think about the real important topic: Information Management. Master data is only “the top of the iceberg”… but don’t we say:

To be able to succeed, one needs to start somewhere…

So why not starting by the core information? 😉 That was/is our choice from the beginning of this journey.

#InfoArch – Post 1. Information Architecture – Our definition

Introduction

Within all major industries — including automotive, banking, healthcare, energy, telecommunications, insurance, and government— organizations from around the world are beginning to understand the importance and tremendous value associated with ensuring the accuracy, consistency, and timeliness of their own information.

To this end, companies are gaining a better appreciation for Enterprise Information Management and its related Governance. Hence, the need to adopt information governance principles and rules across the enterprise became mandatory.
As a matter of fact, Information as an asset has to be governed and managed as any other enterprise asset is. Until information is not properly governed and managed, Information has no chance to fulfill its potential added value across the whole enterprise’s organization. In other words: there can be billions more spent on “exploiting” data, buying Business Intelligence tools, doing “Big Data” extraction and statistics, replicating data many times in many places. All these effort and spending are wasted money unless you know what you want to achieve, what you want to exploit, where is the trustable source, and what is value will it bring for you and your company.

The MDM – Master Data Management – apparatus (it’s a lot more than just technologies) is a fundamental component to guarantee that an enterprise architecture is translated to an efficient IT system. Moreover, without valid Master Data vision set and implemented, an enterprise architecture may be a complete failure and a total waste of money. The Information Governance Framework aims to establish the foundations for a company to govern and operate Information produced and transformed across the full extended enterprise.

Enterprise Information Management (EIM)

Enterprise Information Management (EIM) is an integrative discipline for structuring, describing and governing information assets to:

  • enable business insight
  • improve operational efficiency
  • promote transparency

Information may be structured or unstructured. Master Data and Master Reference Data are structured information, which is in the heart of transactional processes and operations as well as analytics.

Manage and operate

Definition

Enterprise: Information Management (EIM):
The discipline that governs manages and operates IAM. EIM manages enterprise information asset to support the business and improve value. EIM manages the plans, policies, principles, frameworks, technologies, organizations, people and processes in an enterprise toward the goal of maximizing the investment in data and content.

Information Asset Management (IAM): the philosophy of managing enterprise data, information and content as an asset in the business accounting sense. IAM describes philosophies to ensure that data, information and content are all treated as assets in the true business and accounting sense, avoiding increased risk and cost due to data and content misuse, poor handling or exposure to regulatory scrutiny.