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July 20, 2011

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Adrian Bennett

I agree with you, but there is often resistance from the IT folk on this as they think it can and should just be about technology. How do you overcome this?

Mike Stiffler

Thanks for your comment. There is actually a bright side to that problem! I have often seen the reverse -- where IT doesn't want to own the issues and they won't make the investment in technology to fix data quality issues. A mature data governance program should have a good mix of data quality technology included anyway (for executing data profiling, data monitoring, standardization, cleansing, etc.). Data governance just puts formal business processes around it.
Now, to answer your question. This is where tactful conversations come into play. IT should understand that the business folks "own" the data. For example, only they understand the business rules and requirements for collecting and using the data; only they can answer questions around data standards, what metrics and measurements should be tracked, etc. Additionally, the business SMEs can provide business definitions and assist with other documentation that will help streamline development and issue resolution processes. This partnership will help minimize the time it takes IT to react to certain data (quality) issues.

For example, I have often seen fire drills where IT has to track down the data owner, a business definition or requirement, or get approvals. Having all of this up front can save hours and sometimes days when IT is on the hook for fixing an issue.

What's the old adage, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? :)

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