Monday, February 25, 2013

Who owns data management strategy?

@joel_schectman exposes an apparent divergence of opinion among #Gartner analysts - whether CEO or CIO should be in charge of data management strategy.

@ted_friedman says that taking out IT as the gatekeeper of centrally stored data can promote “better fact based decision making across the organization”.

@merv adrian says that bypassing the CIO can have unintended side effects like risks to privacy and the quality of the analysis.

Merv explains further “If you don’t have to go through a procurement process and IT, you’re a lot freer to do what you want,” said Mr. Adrian. “But all of that carefully constructed governance is completely undermined, you can be drawing incorrect conclusions, and exposing risks to privacy because they are doing things IT hasn’t vetted.”

Merv's concern about quality also applies to the widespread and often uncontrolled use of spreadsheets and other end-user tools. For example, we can find @JamesYKwak and @alexhern discussing whether we can blame Microsoft Excel for $9bn losses at JPMorgan?

What exactly do we mean by data management strategy? Joel says it includes how to best utilize customer information to leverage growth. Most CIOs seem to think their responsibility for data finishes when they deliver data and information to the user's device. They seem uninterested in how these users actually use the data, and whether better or faster data genuinely improve decisions and policies, and produce better business outcomes.

In other words, the CIO doesn't operate as a Chief Information Officer but as a Chief Information Systems and Technology Officer.

True information strategy includes a closed feedback and learning loop, so that the use of the information can be monitored. Are these expensively collected and elaborately processed data analytics actually influencing decisions, or are the users mostly ignoring them?

Alex Hern, Is Excel the most dangerous piece of software in the world? (New Statesman Feb 2013)

James Kwak, The Importance of Excel (Baseline Scenario Feb 2013)

Joel Schectman, Democratizing Data Analysis Has Risk (WSJ Feb 2013)

Updated 20 February 2016

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