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Enterprise data and analytics tools are increasingly fragmented; different teams use different tools to analyze data and insights are rarely shared with the whole organization. This phenomenon has blurred data ownership, leaving many enterprises struggling to establish where responsibility for data lies: is it at the team, IT, or organizational level? Truth is, no team or department can entirely own analytics, and in this context, only an organization-wide governance framework can lead to consistent and responsible use of data.

The three IT pillars framework: a governance solution greater than the sum of its parts

Data ownership is more blurred than ever because business groups have their own lines of IT budget, analytics tools are being embedded into core enterprise applications, and enterprises are shifting to the cloud. Clearly, no single technology solution is able to address this challenge; instead, enterprises should establish a strong data governance framework, making sure data is used consistently despite distributed data sources and a variety of analytics tools. Achieving this is easier said than done; however, adopting a tactical approach that focuses on small steps that help empower people, govern process, and leverage technology will result in a governance solution greater than the sum of its parts.

As with enforcing security standards, the general rule of pushing security to the lowest possible level of the technology stack holds true as a principle for establishing data governance: governance should primarily be focused on the management of data – all process and tools that use that data will inherit a degree of governance as a result. This is not only the responsibility of enterprises; vendors must also cultivate strong partnership ecosystems to make their solutions compatible with enterprise tools and governed data.

Technology is only a third of the framework; users and processes should also be an integral part of enterprises' governance efforts. A holistic view of how data is handled within the enterprise should be maintained by a C-level officer, and employees should remain free to choose the tools they want to use. Processes such as peer-led training and sharing of best practice will help to bridge the gap between users and technology, helping employees to make the most of the tools available. Only by reengineering all three pillars of enterprise IT will organizations solve the data governance challenge.


Further reading

In a distributed IT landscape, who should own the analytics? IT0014-003336 (October 2017)


Laurent Lioté, Analyst, Information Management

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