Tips for planning a data governance strategy and MDM strategy

Read a data governance definition, learn about data governance and MDM and how data governance strategy plays an important role in master data management (MDM) strategy.

I've noticed that some master data management (MDM) vendors have been emphasizing data governance a lot more lately. How does data governance fit in the master data management (MDM) strategy?

When you think about it, it's actually a pretty smart move. Take the definition of data governance: the business-driven policy-making and oversight of enterprise information. If you look at it from that viewpoint, managing master data is a subset of data governance. It's an enabler. Vendors like Informatica, Initiate Systems, Siperian, and DataFlux have all added comprehensive workflow management capabilities to their solutions, in effect enabling data stewards to actively address data errors, redefine data elements and refine business rules as the data is processed.

Now I happen to think that this is data management and not necessarily data governance but why quibble, especially when the ongoing tactical work is the real challenge? When we work with clients to build data governance roadmaps and enlist executives in the information-as-asset discussion, one topic we discuss is the company's ability to execute data policy changes, data correction and overall data management. MDM vendors are at the forefront of tactical data management and that puts them on the forefront of data governance. (This invites a "snooze, you lose" conversation with the BI vendors which I'll save for another time.)

But I think the real reason that MDM vendors are embracing data governance is that the topic has more traction on the business side. IT departments are still kicking the MDM tires and many haven't come to terms with the fact that they don't already have some technology hidden in a back room that can solve the problem. More importantly, as MDM migrates from an architectural conversation to a business value conversation, the MDM vendors would like a seat at the executive table. (And here's where the BI vendors could show the MDM crowd a thing or two.)

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