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By Kevin Sonsky, Senior Director, Business Intelligence at Citrix Systems.
If there is a gap, something will fill it.
I’ve always liked the “plumbing” analogy often used in Data and BI circles. You know the one. You’ve got the main “pipe” line coming from the city water system which can represent all of your enterprise data. And then you’ve got the water pipes for the house branching out from the main line and going into each individual room or wing of the house (representing individual applications, processes or analytic-specific consumption of a subset of that data).
The analogy goes on to talk about water quality, and how the water quality upstream (from the city’s main line) impacts the water quality in the individual sinks, showers, hoses, etc. for the house. Ultimately, the most efficient and effective way of solving your water quality issues - and in turn your data quality issues - is to fix it at the source, the city’s main water line.
The analogy applies to several aspects of information governance and analytics, including:
The takeaway? Homeowners and business analysts alike will not wait around, as long as the problems persist. The problem WILL be addressed, like it or not. Nature abhors a vacuum. If the city doesn’t fix it, the homeowners will, and they may without consult with the city or anyone else (including other homeowners).
We see this in the data management space as well. If a formal Data Management or data governance process doesn’t address data quality (consistency, reliability, completeness, accuracy), the BI or apps community will. How? They build shadow databases comprised of cleansing rules and their own interpretation of business logic and data relationships. They may also build customized logic or transform term names and metric calculations within their reports themselves to compensate for perceived shortcomings in data quality.
At Citrix, we are making progress in bridging our two worlds of Data Governance (upstream data quality) and Information Management (downstream BI and metrics standards). Current business objectives driving our efforts include optimizing the business model by driving improved margins, streamlining the organization, and simplifying our product focus on core growth markets. Measuring the business in a reliable and standardized way is critical to achieving these objectives.
As you mature your own capabilities in these areas, here are some recommendations to consider:
At Citrix, we are realizing greater and greater consistency and clarity around metrics shared at the senior leadership levels. Executive operating and business reviews include more trusted data and discussions are increasingly focusing on business decisions, and less about data discrepancies. We have more work ahead of us on this journey to identify the trusted, single source of truth for every one of our key metrics, and we have the organizational commitment and governance processes in place to deliver on this vision.
Kevin has more than 20 years of experience in accounting, finance, business intelligence, analytics, performance management and reporting. He joined Citrix in 1999 working in a variety of corporate finance roles, including Corporate Controller. As a leader in the finance department, Kevin drives business intelligence strategy and governance initiatives throughout the company.