1. Checkers To Chess:Time To Step Up Your InformationManagement Game?A White PaperbyIan RowlandsTECHNOLOGY TO RELY ON
2. Checkers To Chess: Checkers (English Draughts): a simple game played on an eight-by-eight squared board (with sixty- four total squares) with twelve pieces on each side. The pieces move and capture diagonally. They may only move forward until they reach the opposite end of the board, when they are crowned or kinged and may henceforth move and capture both backward and forward. Chess: a game of skill for two players using a checkerboard on which chessmen are moved. Initially each player has one king, one queen, two rooks, two bishops, two knights, and eight pawns, which have different types of moves according to kind. The object is to strategically move the chessmen to checkmate the opponents king. Introduction Im sometimes fascinated by the thought that before the 1950s, there really was no such thing as Information Technology (or Data Processing, as it was often called back then). How did businesses manage to handle their operational activities or make big decisions without the support of a data warehouse? How could there be anyA lot has been assurance that the financial information reported was accurate? (Well, perhaps we should skip that one!) written about It is evident is that there is a lot of money spent on information its creation, management, protection, andthe definition ofexploitation. It is also evident that there is a lot of discomfort about whether that investment is wise, and whether the IT function is using the investment as efficiently as possible. At least as far back as the 1970s, significant work wasmetadata muchbeing done to address the question Do Computer Systems Really Pay-off? (Lincoln, 1986). One way or another, the of it accurate butquestion of the value of information technology wont go away. More recently, in 2004, Nicholas Carr caused a furor when he asked, Does IT Matter? (Carr, 2004). It is also clear that some significant share of IT investment is wasted.uninformative. According to a respected industry source,1 firms use only five percent of the data available to them; however, created Here, we define data is growing 40-50 percent annually, and only 25-30 percent of that is being captured! metadata as any Theres a lot of risk around information. In their excellent book, IT Risk (Westerman & Hunter, 2007), George supplementalWesterman and Richard Hunter lay out a framework that categorizes information risk in terms of availability, access, accuracy, and agility. IT risk, as it relates specifically to information assets (as opposed to infrastructure or people), information might be probed using the following key questions: that assists in Do our information systems allow the right people to use the right information in the right way and prevent all understanding the other usage?structure, meaning, Can people get to information as and when needed? Is the information correct and can users use it correctly?provenance Can information systems adapt to changing requirements in a timely and cost-effective fashion?or usage of an information asset.Because the answers to these questions are essentially metadata, it has become accepted that metadata management is as a way of mitigating information risk. Unfortunately, although the premise that metadata is the key to unlocking information success is a fair one, it would be a large claim to say that experience so far has fully supported it. This paper sets out to address the gap between expectation and experience. What is happening in the world of information management is changing the game I think of it as shifting from Checkers to Chess. It requires a shift from tactical to strategic thinking from playing a simple childs game to establishing yourself as a Grandmaster. Rather than using a standard set of pieces to make some simple moves to2Forrester Research Inc., quoted in CIO Magazine, November 2011 1
3. Time To Step Up Your Information Management Game?get to a clear objective, successful information requires the deployment of a range of assets with different skills andabilities in more or less elegant combinations to reach one of several goals that might be defined as success. Itsdeceptive the board looks the same, but the game has definitely changed!2Enterprise Metadata projects fail Its an ugly truth. After more than 35 years of working with enterprise metadata management technologies, andnearly 15 years of involvement with managing two of the best-known solutions, I have to recognize that not manyenterprises create sustainable enterprise metadata management programs. This white paper sets out to explore someof the issues underlying that uncomfortable fact, and to offer some suggestions as to what Information Managersshould do to avoid the disappointment of short-term success turning into long-term disillusionment.Manage the ExpectationsTraditionally, metadataMetadata is everywhere and all sorts of people can benefit from it. As enterprise dependence on information grows,that proposition becomes easier and easier to defend. At the same time, its not always easy to acquire metadata and managementto manipulate it and present it to support every possible use case. For these reasons, we suggest that you need to has focusedmanage expectations at strategic and tactical levels. on operationalManaging expectations at a strategic level has two elements the first is establishing a corporate commitment systems and relatedthat the only metadata management that will take place is metadata management with payback, and thesecond is a governance framework that allows delivery on that commitment. Failing to be clear about the specific information.and measurable benefits of the metadata management program, and to track the benefits, creates a threat to Demand issustainability. When executive leadership changes, the perceived value of soft benefits changes. Failing to put inplace an agreed framework that defines how benefits will be captured and measured leads to constant debates as to expanding rapidlyreal value. Where the metadata program manager is a persuasive advocate, this may not matter but we have seento encompassmany programs decline because there is no clear framework to define what metadata should be managed, and why. documents andManaging expectations at a tactical level is about communication. What can users reasonably expect from thetext, social media,metadata access capabilities you provide, how can they provide feedback, and what reaction can they expect whenthey do provide feedback? Even a simple annotate capability allowing users to comment on the accuracy and mobile data, image,usefulness of metadata will make a valuable difference. In an environment in which every user of information systems audio, video, andhas access to personal technology offering access to deceptively simple and valuably apps, metadata needs toprovide value, yet be unobtrusive. infrastructure. Managing scopeMoving From Checkers To Chess as business needsRecognizing the issues that have delayed the arrival of pervasive and sustainable enterprise metadata management ischange is extremelyinteresting, but how should a CIO or VP of Data Management respond? This is where the Checkers to Chess analogycomes in. Many metadata management implementations share the following characteristics: important. They are focused on improving the efficiency of information management professionals. They targetmanagement of applications, data models, DBMSs, and data warehouses. They require any business users to learn specialized user interfaces and navigate their way around complexinformation structures. They struggle with the difficulty of managing the capture and synchronization of metadata from many complexsources.2 I was tempted to say, as we see the emergence of big data and the need to manage unstructured content in all its glory, that the game has 3changed from one-dimensional to three-dimensional chess!
4. Checkers To Chess:Creating a long-term approach to making metadata valuable imposes some key requirements. Most importantly,there has to be a recognition that metadata management is not a project but a program, based around a verysophisticated infrastructure. Information Management chess requires the ability to combine tactics and techniquesto solve business problems over a long period.Watch for the Technology DisconnectCorporate IT and Information Management in particular has an awkward paradox to deal with. IT people have atendency to understand their value in terms of the features and functionality they deliver to the business. Businesspeople, however, have no real interest in bells and whistles. They simply want to access information to get theirjob done they need to get at a necessary and sufficient level of supporting information as easily as possible. This In a recentparadox has been creeping up on IT and software vendors for quite a while. Businesses are increasingly unwillingsurvey, to waste talent on understanding and using complex capabilities while applications and supporting softwarebecome ever more sophisticated and consume greater levels of talent to be fully exploited. Recently, the dilemma36 percent of has become painfully pointed as phones and tablets have introduced an app for every task, creating a discontinuity senior businessthat I call the iGAP! leaders noted the risingexpectations Willingness to of younger useTechnical Resources The iGAP workers was pressuring tmenIT to keepRequiretechnology current (Forrsights Business Decision-Makers Survey, Q4 2011,Business / IT Management Application ComplexityForrester Research Inc., 2011)Figure 1: The Challenge Of The iGAPThis disconnect is one of the deepest underlying causes of the inability to sustain metadata managementenvironments. To try to narrow this gap, its becoming best practice for smart Information Management professiona