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Analysis

One Ring To Rule Them All
Andy Hayler By: Andy Hayler, CEO, The Information Difference
Published: 14th June 2010
Copyright The Information Difference © 2010
Logo for The Information Difference

Kalido chose the appropriate setting of the Data Governance Conference in San Diego on June 7th to announce a new product, Kalido Data Governance Director. Data governance is the set of processes that support the lifecycle of data in an enterprise. It typically includes the assignment of data ownership to the business, the definition of polices around data (such as who is authorised to make changes to the attributes of a product hierarchy) and the measurement of data quality (e.g. "no more than 1% duplicate customer records"). Data governance can extend to areas such as data retention rules and data security, but has come to the fore over the last few years due to the rise of master data management (MDM). This is because it is exceedingly difficult to implement a successful MDM programme without effective data governance: by definition, MDM involves the management of data that crosses business lines, so who decides what the correct definition is when there is inconsistency? It cannot realistically be the IT department, who usually lack the authority to make business lines change what they are doing. Pioneering companies have set up data governance functions (owned by the business, but usually involving IT as well) and assigned contact points in the various business lines ("data stewards") to help agree on definitions and resolve disputes. There is also usually a higher level data governance council as an escalation point.

This push for data governance associated with MDM has been taken up by the software vendor community in a haphazard way. Generally the definition and sharing of data policies has been done by spreadsheets and email, possibly with an internal website to help i.e. essentially a manual exercise. Nudged by customers, some MDM (and data quality) vendors have hastily put together some screens labelled something like "data steward dashboard" as an extension to their existing offerings. Those vendors who already had some grasp of the problem will have workflow capability attached, so that for example alerts can be issued and tasks assigned to data stewards. The depth of such offerings has varied dramatically from one vendor to the next, but in many cases has been quite superficial.

The Kalido offering is more ambitious. It recognises that the scope of data governance can extend beyond master data to transactions and KPIs, and companies want to combine the disciplines of data definitions, data quality, and potentially data security, and data retention under a single governance framework. The product is an application written from the ground up for data governance, rather than an add-on to Kalido's existing MDM offering (for example, the workflow engine within the Director product is not that used by Kalido MDM). It allows for the central management of data policies and rules, orchestration of the processes of data governance and measuring and monitoring compliance to these policies and rules. Kalido has wisely set up partnerships to help it take this to market. The announcement at the event was done jointly with Accenture, and Logica is another systems integrator on board with the initiative. Trillium is the first data quality vendor that has signed up as a technology partner for the new product.

It seems to me that this is an astute move by Kalido. The bumper attendance at the Data Governance conference where this was launched (with double the attendees of the previous year) demonstrates the rapidly growing interest in data governance, and a desire by many companies to move from studying the subject into implementing it. By taking the initiative here, and by partnering with other influential players, Kalido can put clear blue water between itself and its rivals. It is very likely to generate a competitive response, so the challenge for Kalido will be to execute rapidly and take a lead in the market before larger players can react.

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