ASUG Data Governance Conference 2013 – Value is in the eye of the beholder

By Jim O'Farrell on October 21, 2013

As the 2013 ASUG Data Governance Conference comes to an end, it’s interesting to note a few of the themes that emerged this year as compared to the prior years.

Value in the eyes of the Beholder – Economic Properties of Data

Value, value, and value… after two and a half days and twenty sessions dealing with some aspect of data governance – thought it would be helpful to share some observations and themes that emerged during this conference.

I was struck by the singularity and on the other hand the diversity of discussions around value and data governance. Whether it was a CFO, an analyst, an IT person, a business director, a vice president – everyone pounded on this theme but of course had a variation on it… In other words, data governance value to an analyst could be something as simple as updating thousands of materials more efficiently whereas value to a CFO is providing high level data quality to avoid business interruption, or to a supply chain manager – being able to track spare parts effectively. But to all of these different roles and personas – it is about “getting more value” out of their SAP investment and believing that more efficient data governance is a critical path forward.

Let me point out a couple of examples.

Starting with the CFO perspective – Doug Martin of Newell Rubbermaid, point out that the key charter for Newell Rubbermaid is to double growth in the next 3-4 years.

Martin says he sees doing it by unlocking untapped capacity or in the words of another of our client’s Disney Studios likes to say “enable capacity” of their labor force. And the critical gating factor is master data quality!

Master Data at Newell Rubber Maid

From a global systems integrator perspective, Rob Franey w. PwC asked these key questions in his presentation “Cost of Data Management Without Data Governance:

  1. How quickly is your company’s data growing?
  2. Why is it important to manage your company’s data effectively?
  3. Is your company investing enough for data governance success?
  4. What types of data does your company manage?
  5. What can happen if you don’t improve your company’s Information Governance?
  6. Does your company have the right technologies for proper information governance?

Franey shared current cost standards for managing master data – To further his discussion he outlined where to look for costs in material, customer, vendor, finance and HR master record processing – again looking at the value conundrum from the “process perspective”. I found it a good comprehensive view of the value of data governance.

Conclusion – The Reality is Sinking In – It’s about the Value Dummy!

So what’s it all about Alfie? I think it is finally sinking in… Companies in this representative group, at least the leaders in master data governance – have formalized organization structures around data stewardship and governance – and they are doing this by rationalizing data governance in terms of business value – measuring data governance, providing high levels of service by way of data governance processing and driving home the data governance value messaging – whether its transactional value, process value, business value or corporate value. Sysco’s Patrice Wondercheck hammered this home by articulating their company technology platform initiative which is to “grow sales, reduce operating costs and leverage improved data”… My final take? Somebody is going to write a check somewhere and is going to ask the question “what are we getting for this…” – Business value and data governance – hand in hand is the way forward.

Questions or comments about this article?

Tweet @Winshuttle to continue the conversation!