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Go go Data Governance!

Remember Inspector Gadget? As a cyborg detective he has all the tools he will ever need built right into his body. And simply by saying “go-go-gadget” he summons exactly what he needs in a given situation (which is usually fighting evil). What an ability! Imagine if it was that easy to get the right software for your business…

One software domain that is particularly messy is Master Data Management (MDM). MDM software can range from generic data hubs, to tools that specialize in publishing product catalogs, to data entry accelerators, and data quality tools. But here is a reason that these widely differing software products are in the same category: they all relate to how you manage and use master data for your business. Unfortunately, the most important area of MDM, Data Governance, which ties all the other areas and tools together, is the most immature in terms of software support.

Remember Data Governance? Data Governance is the clear definition of ownership and responsibilities around data and the execution of these definitions and ownership. With Data Governance, an organization can hold itself accountable, that the quality of data at any given time meets the requirements of its business.

What we see is that when organizations reach a certain maturity level of data governance, where it is in place for maybe Material or Customer master data, they lack behind on tool support. As a result the work in the virtual data governance organizations is cumbersome and inefficient.

Some of the key features of a data governance tool are

  • keep the governance roles and organization
  • keep the data definitions, rules and data quality standards
  • support workflows for data governance processes, e.g. change definition, assign data steward, etc.
  • provide a good user experience for everyone – including occasional users
  • integrate reporting on data quality levels

Up until lately, when you looked to the MDM software market for help to support and automate data governance, you would at best get confused. Some of the large established software vendors have their own agendas, which often results in governance tools centered on just one software product, or more accurately, centered on that particular vendor’s portfolio of products. And some vendors simply define data governance as the same as data maintenance. Which it is definitely not! A data maintenance workflow tool, perhaps with support for Data Steward approval steps, is not data governance as it does not deal with the underlying definitions and rules and the organizational anchoring of those.

Fortunately some smaller vendors have seen this gap in the market and have begun shipping independent data governance tools. This includes products such as Collibra, and Kalido’s Data Governance Director.

If you are implementing data governance in your organization, keep your head up for these emerging tools. They might be the very next thing you will need to go-go-gadget.


About Thomas Holmen

I have a profound passion for technology and how we use it to transform our lives and businesses. As Principal Consultant for Platon, my mission is to improve the way companies manage and use information. My primary tool set holds Data Governance, Master Data Management, and SAP architecture and technology.


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