Information Governance and MDM Programs Key Initiative Overview

Archived Published: 23 April 2014 ID: G00262918


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Information governance and master data management programs are central to an organization's success in assuring business outcomes and increasing business value from reusing enterprise information assets. This overview provides guidance on these strategic and challenging initiatives.


Figure 1. Information Governance and MDM Programs Key Initiative Overview

MDM = master data management

Research image courtesy of Gartner, Inc.

Source: Gartner (April 2014)

Information governance programs like master data management (MDM) are key to efforts in gaining value from information reuse across an organization, and are central to enterprise information management.

Information governance programs are not new, but they can be hard to adopt. Often, business leaders believe that they are about control or "the responsibility of IT," and it can be difficult to expose their business value. However, information governance is critical to any initiative that uses information to drive improved business outcomes. Effective information governance supports initiatives focused on improving business innovation, revenue or customer service, reducing time to market, optimizing costs and meeting regulatory or compliance requirements.

No company will fail due to a lack of information governance, but much of what the business wants to achieve won't work as well without it. MDM is a relatively new type of program that limits its focus to master data to help organizations get started with information governance. This narrow focus is one reason that MDM is quickly gaining traction. MDM is only one type of information governance; others focus on other forms of enterprise information.

Consider These Factors to Determine Your Readiness

What Successful Implementation of Information Governance and MDM Programs Means to CIOs

CIOs need to understand how information governance and MDM can benefit the entire company, and spearhead the required changes in business processes. They should consider their readiness to tackle the following hurdles:

  • Identifying which critical, differentiated or required business processes and desired business outcomes or innovations hinge on the effective governance of which kinds of information.

  • Identifying line-of-business leaders to co-sponsor information governance and MDM initiatives.

  • Working with these leaders to build a vision and strategy for managing information assets and to develop a business case.

  • Linking information governance to IT governance and corporate governance initiatives.

  • Measuring and communicating the business value of reusing information across the organization, or even sharing it with external third parties or the collective.

What Successful Implementation of Information Governance and MDM Programs Means to IT Leaders

IT leaders need to understand how information governance and MDM benefits their organization, and ensure that the skills and focus are in place to execute the effort successfully. They should consider their readiness to:

  • Establish standards and policies for information governance and MDM, and new roles such as chief data officer, governance boards and information stewards.

  • Understand information governance and MDM, and analyze how the business strategy will be supported by them. This will enable a better understanding of when, where, how and why the organization should adopt these disciplines.

  • Use Gartner's Magic Quadrants, Hype Cycles and Market Guides to assess which vendors, markets and industries are likely to facilitate or be affected by MDM or information governance initiatives.

  • Evaluate which enterprise information (for example, master data), use cases, implementation styles, organizational structures, technologies and best practices will support MDM and other information governance programs best.

Conduct Your Information Governance and MDM Initiative Using This Structured Approach

The chances of information governance and MDM success will be increased by following a structured approach that includes the following organizing principles:

  • Strategize and Plan: Draft a charter to gain agreement on the vision for the initiative, and draft a business case to align with business goals. Scope the initiative, establish resources and budget. Integrate with strategic IT and business plans.

  • Develop Governance: Establish an optimal process for making decisions and assigning decision rights across the business and IT. Identify and engage stakeholders. Agree on authority and flow for decision-making. Implement and set up feedback mechanisms.

  • Drive Change Management: Communicate and socialize ideas via multiple channels. Get buy-in from stakeholders at all levels. Implement organizational and process changes in a controlled manner. Assess progress and drive stakeholder commitment to change.

  • Execute: Operate the initiative and optimize in accordance with business goals. Implement the necessary changes to information systems. Update and drive new elements of the initiative in response to changing business requirements.

  • Measure and Improve: Measure how the initiative has affected business outcomes. Seek feedback from stakeholders. Drive improvements through process changes and upgrades.

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