Archive for January, 2012

The Importance of Data Governance in the Financial Markets

It occurred to me today that, for some organizations, the repercussions of having a poor data governance program in place could be catastrophic.  I worked in the financial industry doing data governance about 5 years ago (student loans), but for some reason the magnitude of poor data governance for large financial institutions didn’t fully occur to me until recently.

Imaging running a data warehouse (or live data feeds) for a trading floor such as the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ and the immense amount of data flowing through the organization. I’ve recently become familiar with the Online Trading Academy, a highly rated & reviewed learning center where they teach you how to day trade. Trading stocks is very data dependent, and peoples’ livelyhood depends on it, and this data is used on a daily basis in realtime. Can you imagine if bad (or no) data governance is in place and how this could seriously impact a lot of people?  This would literally jeopardize people’s lives as they know it, and one bad move by a trading floor could mean more government regulations and overhead – something that they absolutely do not want.

Consider companies like MorningStar, whose job it is to compile massive amounts of data and make stock ratings and recommendations based on that data.  Can you image the intense amount of data governance and data quality that occurs in that organization? (incidentally, I can related as I saw their Data Quality Director speak at a conference in Vegas on the topic).  If MorningStar has a corrupt set of data that impacts just one small portion of their business, it could literally mean thousands of people get bad advice on their retirement investments.  If that mistake is discovered too late, we are talking about a catastrophic loss of money and potentially the credibility of their company going completely out the door.

I wanted to share this with you, because often times we just think of the worst case scenario being an ‘out of compliance’ finding, but it really can be so much worse than that.  Job loss, income loss, bankruptcy and more all all serious possibilities if data isn’t treated like gold with an organization.

Data Governance Training

It’s no secret that we believe that one of the most important aspects of a successful Data Governance program at your organization is to ensure that all of your employees receive the proper training. If everyone is not working with the same assumptions and goals then the organization will never reach the level of data governance succes that it aims for.

The difficulty with training an entire organization around data governance is that there are often so many groups focusing on different projects and completing different tasks. The cost of getting everyone into training courses and workshops can quickly add up. Thankfully, there is a solution that an organization can implement that is both cost effective and successful at training an entire staff on proper data governance techniques.

Data Governance Training Through eLearning

One of the most cost effective ways of explaining the importance of Data Governance with your employees is through an eLearning solution. This training approach can be very similar to the security training sessions organization conduct each year to make sure staff is keeping proper protocols for protecting an organizations intelectual property.

An elearning solution can be custom developed to demonstrate the specific approach you’d like to implement for proper data governance in your organization. These approaches are excellent as they can be repeated, easily required of all new incoming employees, and can be used be different parts of the organization as needed.

An even better idea would be to make the implementation of required eLearning course completion be part of every new project your organization undertakes. As they review the material continually they’ll develop a strong understanding of how the organization works with data.

eLearning courses can be developed for Computer Based Training or Web Best Training approaches. They can be taken by your employees at their desk. They are often less expensive than requiring week long training sessions and the ability to test an employees knowledge at the end of the course allows for an assurance that staff understands the material presented to them.

If your organization is not using elearning approaches to data governance it is something you should seriously investigate.