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March 4, 2009

Companies lack data responsibility strategy: report

Data vitally important but enterprises not doing enough, says DataFlux

By Steve Evans

New research has revealed that many financial services institutes do not have anyone in overall charge of data compliance strategies, despite increased regulation and legislation in the industry.

The survey of IT decision makers, conducted by BDRC on behalf of data integration vendor DataFlux, revealed that 16% of organisations had no one with specific responsibility for data quality or governance.

Another worrying trend, according to DataFlux, is that 36% of companies have entrusted data responsibility to the IT department. Speaking to CBR about the survey, DataFlux EMEA managing director Colin Rickard said that this was the wrong attitude for companies to take.

“This figure is rather disturbing, it’s wrong.” he told CBR. “If you combine it with the 16% who say there is no owner, you get over 50% doing what I think is not a good idea. One in two who are doing it are going down the wrong path. They have a long way to go.”

Rickard added that with increasing regulation, it is likely these companies will have to rethink their strategy. “A rising title within organisations is Data Governance Director,” Rickard told CBR. “I think we’ll see more and more of that because compliance is good, but it’s so much more than just data. It’s about companies doing the right thing in their processes. Boards are going to want to haul someone before them to answer data compliance queries.”

The survey also revealed that nearly 9 out of ten (86%) respondents rate data quality as extremely important to their business, with the remaining 14% believing it is very important. Nearly 90% of respondents said their company treated data as a strategic asset.

This figure appears to clash with the number of companies with an active data governance strategy in place. Of all the companies quizzed, 27% claimed they were not considering implementing a data governance project, with a further 9% claiming they do not know if they will.

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BDRC’s client services director Mark Long told CBR that these figures represent, “The disconnect between the stated degree of importance around data quality and how that is being executed on the shop floor. The degree of ambition is not being met with the degree of activity.”

Companies that are investing in data overwhelming stated compliance as the driving force behind the investment (73%), followed by organisational efficiency (52%) and competitive advantage (45%).

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