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Data governance software: The truth about 'one-size-fits-all' data governance 'solutions'

Data governance software vendors are relentless in their attempts to sell their 'solutions.' Many data governance products have been rebranded under a compliance or governance banner in order to sell more copies. The cynic sneers at such attempts...

There seem to be about a million software vendors touting "one-size-fits-all" data governance "solutions." As I understand it, effective data governance requires, ETL, EAI, data cleansing, relational and multidimensional databases, BI, metadata management, etc. Is it possible for vendors to truly offer a prepackaged one-size-fits-all data governance methodology? And, it seems that many of the required tools are already in place within most enterprise architectures, so how do we effectively utilize what we already have against what is required?

Regulatory compliance is the latest bandwagon that data governance software vendors have boarded in an attempt to sell more products. Many products have been rebranded under a compliance or governance banner in order to sell more copies. The cynic in me sneers at such attempts, but the pragmatist wins out. By this I mean, if you really had all of the solutions in place and working then there'd be nothing to worry about, would there?

Regarding the "one-size-fits-all" data governance solutions, don't believe the hype. Most organizations will require multiple software packages usually from multiple vendors to implement a broad data governance solution. The only vendors that would even come close to providing a full solution would be IBM and Oracle. But would you trust IBM to manage your Oracle databases – or vice versa? Furthermore, both of these companies rely on partners to fill gaps in their offerings.

I would recommend procuring and implementing your own bundle of data governance software solutions. Begin with what you already have in place. Make sure that the software is implemented and delivering the benefits for which it was purchased. Furthermore, make sure that your staff is trained in the proper usage of the most recent version of all of your software. Sometimes vital functionality remains unimplemented because of a lack of knowledge.

Once you are sure that your existing software is effective, map out the holes in your implementation. Do you have a corporate data model? Is your metadata defined and accurate? Is your data accurate? Do you know what data is accessed by whom and when? Maybe you need a new data modeling solution, a repository, data profiling and data cleansing software, or improved data security and auditing solutions. Consider hiring a consultant to help you map out the areas of data governance that are inadequately covered by your existing solution – and to help you evaluate software to deliver additional functionality.

Finally, keep in mind that this is a good time to obtain funding for data governance solutions. Regulatory compliance is on the top of your executive's minds and if you can show how a software solution can resolve one of his/her problems then you'll be doing them a favor.


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