Common Enterprise wide Data Governance Issues – #13. Islands of data.

Islands of data across the Enterprise.

This post is one of a series dealing with common Enterprise Wide Data Governance Issues.    Assess the status of this issue in your Enterprise by clicking here:  Data Governance Issue Assessment Process

In many large organisations, tactical localised projects over many years has resulted in multiple databases of similar but inconsistent and unlinked data (e.g. multiple customer databases).

Historically, business area owners have been reluctant to share “their data” with other business areas – for fear of data corruption, or occassionally for reasons of “empire building”.


– Information Management nightmare

– Multiple versions of “the truth’.

– No ‘single view of customer’.

– Difficulty in meeting regulatory requirements in the area of ‘Know Your Customer’.

– …


CIO to define and implement the following Policy:

  1. New data stores must only be created in consultation with the Enterprise Data Architect, taking into account the target Enterprise Data Model.
  2. Measures are required to replace local islands of operational data with Enterprise wide operational databases, and to implement an Enterprise wide data warehouse.

Does your organisation have “islands of data” – if so, what problems do they cause you?

If not, how did you get rid of them?  Did you build “bridges”?  Do your data islands feed into a central “Information Warehouse”.   Please share your experience.

Common Enterprise wide Data Governance Issues – #12. No Enterprise wide Data Dictionary.

This post is one of a series dealing with common Enterprise Wide Data Governance Issues.    Assess the status of this issue in your Enterprise by clicking here:  Data Governance Issue Assessment Process

No Idea What This Means

Anyone know what this acronym means?

An excellent series of blog posts from Phil Wright (Balanced approach to scoring data quality) prompted me to restart this series.  Phil tells us that in his organisation, “a large amount of time and effort has been applied to ensure that the business community has a definitive business glossary, containing all the terminology and business rules that they use within their reporting and business processes. This has been published, and highly praised, throughout the organisation.” I wish other organisations were like Phil’s.

Not only do some organisations lack “a definitive business glossary” as Phil describes above, complete with business rules….
Some organisations have no Enterprise wide Data Dictionary.  What is worse – there is no appreciation within senior management of the need for an Enterprise wide Data Dictionary (and therefore no budget to develop one).


  • No business definition, or contradictory business definitions of the intended content of critical fields.
  • There is an over dependence on a small number of staff with detailed knowledge of some databases.
  • Incorrect or non-ideal sources of required data are identified – because the source of required data is determined by personnel with expertise in specific systems only.
  • New projects, dependent on existing data, are left ‘flying blind’.  The impact is similar to landing in a foreign city, with no map and not speaking the language.
  • Repeated re-invention of the wheel, duplication of work, with associated costs.


CIO to define and implement the following Policy:  (in addition to the policies listed for Data Governance Issue #10):

  • An Enterprise wide Data Dictionary will be developed covering critical Enterprise wide data, in accordance with industry best practice.

Does your organisation have an “Enterprise wide Data Dictionary” – if so, how did you achieve it?  If not, how do new projects that depend on existing data begin the process of locating that data?  Please share your experience.

Craig Newmark on Information Quality

"Craig Newmark on Information Quality"

Craig Newmark on Information Quality

Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist is visiting Dublin at the moment.  He is a keynote speaker at the Dublin Web Summit on Thursday 4th Feb 2010.

I spotted the following quote from Craig about information quality in an interview with the Sunday Business Post, Ireland’s leading business newspaper.

‘‘Large organisations are normally run in a way that people tell their boss what they think their boss wants to hear, and that continues right up the ladder,” he said. ‘‘Because of this, the result is that the people making decisions rarely get good-quality information. In small organisations, commentary and decision-making happens much closer to the ground.”

Craig’s comment struck a chord with me, due to a recent conversation I had with the Data Quality Manager of a large Enterprise.   Senior management in his organisation believe the information quality within the organisation is “OK”.  They believe this because the information “looks reasonable”, and the people who provide the information to them are “good people”.

Given Craig Newmark’s observation, I suspect that the information quality may not be “OK”.

In the future, with the swing from principles to rules based regulation, senior management will need to provide evidence of the quality of the information on which regulatory submissions are based.

I discuss this topic further in two related posts “Achieving Regulatory Compliance – The devil is in the data“, and “What questions will the regulator ask“.   If you get a chance, read some of the comments – they provide  helpful insights – and if you have the time, please comment yourself.