With one data governance project delivering business value and a broad deployment underway, Canada Post has a good idea of what works and what doesn't work when it comes to enterprise data governance. I recently caught up with James Smith, the lead of data governance at the Canadian postal service, and we chatted about how the organization is approaching this critical process (see Keeping It Private and Canada Post Delivers on Data Governance). Here, he discusses his five top best-practices.
Executive buy-in. "The model starts with having support from senior management to suggest that this is the way they want to go and to align with the strategic plan," Smith says. "That's No. 1."
A data-governance office. Once executive support is in place, the organization needs to create a data governance office and give it responsibility for working with all parties -- including audit, privacy, and security -- in implementing data policies and then communicating them to the enterprise. "That's the fundamental first layer that needs to happen -- and then, once that's in place, you can assign accountabilities with data stewards."
Engagement of data stewards. As we learned yesterday, data stewards at Canada Post live within the business and "own" the data. They're responsible for its upkeep, meaning the onus for quality and compliance falls on their shoulders. They must have a vested interest in keeping engaged with the data, Smith says.
Communication. "It's pivotal," Smith says. This means he himself is "consistently communicating with all the data stewards on the rules, policies, calls, data issues, data solutions, and big projects," and that the data stewards need to communicate among themselves, too. "This really is an enterprise approach, and communications is the key."
Technology. "You can't have technology without data or the data without the technology, both of which need to be aligned with each other," Smith says. Since a new application or system could transform the data and thereby affect the schema or the model associated with the data, following best-practices around data architecture is critical, he added. "That's why IT is represented in the committees." Canada Post relies on data management software from SAS, this site's sponsor, for "de facto execution of the best rules of data governance."
For companies providing 360-degree views of data, the governance requirement is never-ending, Smith said. Do you agree? Share your thoughts on data governance below.
Funny, Michael -- I just posted basically the same thought in another post, not having read this comment! It seems these companies are following best-practices for enterprise data governance. Perhaps we'll have to revisit each of them a year from now and see how those efforts have come along and if any of their experiences diverge from the best-practices.
Funny indeed. One thing Zurell shared that I found interesting was the structure of her governance task force, as it were.
She said she has a steering committee of VP-level executives that meets monthly, a 'data council' made up of director/manager-types that meets every 2 weeks, and a strategy group of lower-level workers. Each has a "cross section" of LOB and IT representatives.
I wonder how this kind of large-scale initiative would translate in a smaller organization.
That's a lot of meetings -- but I do think it does speak to 1) the importance of data governance, 2) the need for support at all levels of an organization, and 3) the challenges and scope of the work.
Smaller organizations should have simllar processes in place, I would imagine, tailored for their size. Maybe smaller companies would need both the executive-level steering committee and a data council, for example, but rather key top executives who participate in the data council.
As the plan described seems top down management with the data "stewards" in the middle, I wonder if things would work out smoother giving a bit more leeway to those at the bottom of the list. The communication factor seems of course politically and practically correct, but there's always the problem of those at the bottom of the stack a bit leery of giving opinions as the program progresses.
@kq4ym -- so are you suggested the data stewards would be leery of giving opinions, or those "below" them? If anything I'd think the data stewards, who "own" the data, would feel empowered by this structure, knowing the formal processes and having support from the data council.
Ugh - I don't like 'information advocacy." That sounds like information is an under-represented entity that needs support. Governance is a responsibility -- which I think is truer to the task at hand. If you don't govern your data responsibly and thoroughly, you're going to be in serious trouble.
2014 VA Interactive Roadshow -- AtlantaThe 2014 VA Interactive Roadshow will feature SASŪ Data Management and SASŪ Visual Analytics experts covering topics like prepping data for VA and VA integration with SASŪ Office Analytics. This year's events will keep presentations at a minimum and focus on giving attendees hands-on exposure to the latest version of VA.
NRF Retail's Big Show 2015The flagship industry event of the National Retail Federation, Retail's Big Show is an annual event held over four days in New York City. As the world's leading retail event, the Big Show brings together 30,000 retail professionals and vendors from more than 86 countries, and features more than 100 education sessions, 270 speakers and 550 exhibitors. The conference connects retail solution providers with retail executives searching for the most effective solutions, tools and technologies.
LEADERS FROM THE BUSINESS AND IT COMMUNITIES DUEL OVER CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY ISSUES
The Current Discussion
Visual Analytics: Who Carries the Onus? The Issue: Data visualization is an up-and-coming technology for businesses that want to deliver analytical results in a visual way, enabling analysts the ability to spot patterns more easily and business users to absorb the insight at a glance and better understand what questions to ask of the data. But does it make more sense to train everybody to handle the visualization mandate or bring on visualization expertise? Our experts are divided on the question. The Speakers: Hyoun Park, Principal Analyst, Nucleus Research; Jonathan Schwabish, US Economist & Data Visualizer
The hospitality industry gathers massive amounts of customer data, and mining that data effectively can yield tremendous results in terms of improved CRM, better-targeted marketing spend, and more efficient back-end processes. Roger Ares, vice president of analytics at Hyatt Corp., discusses the ways he and his staff use big data.
Charged with keeping track of travel assets, including employees, iJET International relies on data management best-practices and advanced analytics to keep its clients in the know on current and potential world events affecting travel, Rich Murnane, Director of Enterprise Data Operations & Data Architect, told All Analytics in an interview from the 2014 SAS Global Forum Executive Conference.
Jason Dorsey, chief strategy officer for the Center for Generational Kinetics and keynote speaker at last month's SAS Global Forum 2014, describes how Gen Y professionals are enhancing the makeup of multigenerational analytics organizations.
From analytics talent development to the power of visual analytics, All Analytics found a variety of common themes circulating throughout the exhibition floor and session discussions at the 2014 SAS Global Forum and SAS Global Forum Executive Conference events held last month in Washington, DC.
Talking with All Analytics live from the 2014 SAS Global Forum Executive Conference, Eric Helmer, senior manager of campaign design and execution for T-Mobile, discussed the importance of customer data -- starting internally -- in devising the mobile operator's marketing plans.
The big-data analytics market can be a confusing place. Among the vendors vying for your dollars are traditional database management providers, Hadoop startup services, and IT giants. In this video, All Analytics editors Beth Schultz and Michael Steinhart sit down in a Google+ Hangout on Air with Doug Henschen, executive editor of InformationWeek. Henschen discusses use cases for big-data analytics, purchase considerations, and his recent roundup of the top 16 big-data analytics platforms.
At the National Retail Federation BIG Show last month, All Analytics executive editor Michael Steinhart noted a host of solutions for tracking and analyzing customer activity in retail stores. From Bluetooth beacons to RFID tags to NFC connections to video analytics, retailers must find the right combination of tools to help optimize the shopper experience, streamline operations, and boost revenues.
The days when historical shipment trends and gut feelings were enough to forecast retail demand accurately are long over. SAS chief industry consultant Charles Chase outlines the benefits of pulling real-time sales information from point-of-sale and product scanner systems, then flowing that data into dynamic forecasting tools from SAS.
With today's advanced visual analytics tools, you can stream data into memory for real-time processing, provide users the ability to explore and manipulate the data, and bring your data to life for the business.
Dynamic data visualizations let analysts and business users interact with the data, changing variables or drilling down into data points, and see results in a flash. Advance your use of data visualization with tools that support features like auto-charting, explanatory pop-ups, and mobile sharing.
No doubt your enterprise is amassing loads of data for fact-based decision-making. Hand in hand with all that data comes big computational requirements. Can traditional IT infrastructure handle the increasing number and complexity of your analytical work? Probably not, which is why you need a backend rethink. Big data calls for a high-performance analytics infrastructure, as Fern Halper, a partner at the IT consulting and research firm, Hurwitz & Associates, discusses here.
Redbox's bright-red DVD kiosks are all but ubiquitous these days, located in more than 28,000 spots across the country. Jayson Tipp, Redbox VP of Analytics and CRM, provides an insider's look at how the company has accomplished its phenomenal nine-year growth.
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), a seven-brand global hotelier, has woven analytics into the fabric of its operations. David Schmitt, director of performance strategy and planning, shares IHG's analytics story and his lessons learned.