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Blog > December 2017 > Data Intelligence and Data Lineage – Not Just For Compliance

Data Intelligence and Data Lineage – Not Just For Compliance

Many people think that Data Governance and Data Intelligence are only about compliance. Are you in that group? I must admit I was at least half in the camp, but a look at some recent data changed my mind. To be honest, it wasn’t a complete surprise, because some of the conversations I’ve been having with customers and colleagues suggest a shift, but the details were fascinating.  

The critical question was “Why did you buy a Data Intelligence solution?” I’ve listed the answers in order of popularity.

  • The first answer was “To create internal/operational efficiencies.” A Data Intelligence solution that inventories data and shows how data flows from process to process is an excellent way to see where the business can eliminate redundant steps, or build in efficiencies. Often bridges and intermediate data stores have been made between legacy systems and newer technologies offer the chance to remove them.
  • The next answer was “Enhance decision making.” Knowing what data is available is a good start in making decisions. An Intelligent Data Catalog tags and identifies all the best data for consideration in any business decision.
  •  “Improve business process outcomes” was the third answer. Misunderstandings about the meaning of data, a lack of understanding of data transformation, or a failure to consider data quality are all errors that will cause business problems and slow processes.
  • At only fourth on the list was “Improve compliance & risk management.” It’s surprising in a way, as an active compliance program provides a Data Intelligence foundation for all the other opportunities. A Data Inventory, Data Lineage, added quality and reference information, and connecting business and technical elements provide the basis for compliance – but also support all the other programs.
  • Next on the list was “Improve business process agility.” Making changes quickly in order to respond to new opportunities, is central to increasing revenue or gaining competitive advantage.  Yet, changes can have possible unintended and hard to identify consequences.  Using impact analysis and data lineage to track how the changes will affect other processes or to identify duplication and redundancies in can be crucial to optimizing business processes.
  • Reduce time to market” was the last item on the list. Making changes in IT applications and services can take too long. Understanding required changes and where they can be applied in complex applications is time-consuming and challenging.  Data Intelligence makes it possible to locate and trace information assets and data elements through applications and services to rapidly identify areas impacted by changes. That skill provides the business agility that will minimize time to market.

Although the order of the answers is interesting, experience suggests that it hides another truth. Most businesses that implement a Data Intelligence solution do it for more than one reason. Though there has been a tremendous focus on governance and compliance since the financial crisis struck in 2007-8, there is an increasing hunger for Data Monetization – the conversion of data into money. It’s not an either/or issue – it must be both/and. Businesses that ignore compliance demands run the risk of severe penalties, reputational damage, and loss of profits. Businesses that fail to drive to extract value from data lag their peers, with lower profits and less growth.

The key to supporting defensive (compliance focused) and offensive (value focused) Data Intelligence is a combination of capabilities. It requires information about business and technical assets, and the relationships between them. It needs information about the structure and context of data, as well as its meaning. A solution must span traditional data sources and the new Big Data technologies. 

Posted: 12/20/2017 3:00:00 PM by Ian Rowlands
Filed under :compliance, data, governance, ian, intelligence, lineage