Manage data like you manage people

Everyone in the organization plays a role in data management.

There seems to be a growing opinion in business that IT should no longer carry all the responsibility for data. Take a more federated approach to spread the responsibility, and you can begin by applying people management methods to your information, recommends Thomas C. Redman, president of Navesink Consulting Group.

An organization's people are managed in such a way that everyone shares the work, Redman writes in a post at Harvard Business Review. The human resources department may establish the process for performance reviews, but department managers conduct the reviews. In this federated model, the corporate HR group defines the policy, departments adjust it as needed, and managers carry it out.

A similar division of labor can work for data management, Redman suggests. Since the task of creating, storing, using and presenting data is done by employees in departments, they have to be fully involved in data management. "Practically everyone is both a data creator and customer. This is where the real work of managing data and putting it to work lies. And it is where much responsibility for data must lie," he writes

A policy for helping individuals manage data should be set at the corporate level. Special attention should be given to the process of managing metadata, which will simplify data sharing and enhance employees' understanding of it.

"Taken together, these points represent a sea change in thinking, particularly for those whose most senior data person is a technical architect, buried deep in the bowels of IT," Redman writes. "This will not do. Just as the head of HR is among the top few people in a company, data requires very senior leadership."

For more:
- see Thomas C. Redman's post at Harvard Business Review

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