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TECHNOLOGY TO RELY ON Checkers To Chess: Time To Step Up Your Information Management Game? A White Paper by Ian Rowlands

ASG Checkers to Chess

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  1. 1. Checkers To Chess:Time To Step Up Your InformationManagement Game?A White PaperbyIan RowlandsTECHNOLOGY TO RELY ON
  2. 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. 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. 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 professionalsto deliver metadata through simplified mechanisms portals, specialized search engines, and applets. Even moreencouraging, some clever solutions are emerging that allow users to point at a piece of information and havesupporting information pop up on demand. When combined with other platform capabilities, what emerges is anenterprise information management platform that provides a step change in usability.There is a second aspect to this technology disconnect issue. Enterprise applications have been difficult toimplement and manage (anyone who has been involved in an ERP implementation will vouch for it!). Unfortunately,this has also become true of metadata management applications. The new breed of solutions, however, now do amuch better job of managing the metadata collection and integration process, and require fewer advanced skills toinstall, customize and extend.4
  5. 5. Time To Step Up Your Information Management Game?Watch for the Cultural DisconnectTheres a cultural disconnect that accompanies the technology disconnect. Technology leaders are just that technology leaders. They are rarely business leaders. Some enterprises have sought to address the issue byimporting business counterparts to manage information technology functions. The experiment rarely succeeds.Its like trying to take a checkers player and asking him to play chess . This is a very difficult challenge. A metadatamanagement program really needs a leader with the ability to understand a wide range of complex technologiesas well as the empathy to understand what a broad user community requires to be successful in using informationto develop, operate, and govern the business. The metadata management programs that thrive and make a realdifference to the business they support are blessed by a leader who can form and communicate a vision that spansbusiness and technology domains. And sadly, when such leaders move on, all too often, there is no successionplanning and the program loses momentum and eventually ceases to deliver value.What Will A Best Of Breed Metadata Management Solution provide?Metadata Management solutions have evolved over many years. Originally, metadata management was a singlesolution applied to a specific technical challenge. This evolved into the mega repository a one size fits all thatrarely satisfied anyone. The next phase and one still embraced by some was to provide islands of metadata sothat each user was provided with facilities that were fit for purpose. The challenges with such an approach are thatmetadata is often duplicated and users dealing with multiple roles may have to learn multiple different approaches toachieve all of their information management tasks.A new solution is emerging that synthesizes the best characteristics of its predecessors. Figure 2 (see page 6) providesa broad schematic. They key characteristics are: An ability to access any exposed metadata, using a variety of transport and federation mechanisms. Reconciliation and integration of metadata across all metadata sources to provide a consistent view of all aspects of information assets. Integration and management of semantic, syntactic, structural, and administrative metadata. Data management capabilities, allowing for an understanding of how information assets have changed over time, and protection of metadata for recovery and audit purposes. Management of the technical information life cycle is a key element in information governance programs. Management capabilities ensuring that everyone has access to capabilities and information as required (and which they are authorized to access). Workflow tools to automate collaboration. Developer capabilities providing extensibility as needed. An organic user interface which adapts to each users roles and authorities so that all available facilities are presented in a seamless set of access modes pop-up, web-based portlet, web service , etc. 5
  6. 6. Checkers To Chess:The last point is the key. The notion of user/function-specific applications as not a bad one but in practice thecreation of separate capabilities for business user access, application management, data warehouse management,master data management, and so on, leads to the creation of complex management processes and many separaterepositories. This, in turn, leads to a requirement for bridges between repositories and the environment becomesunmanageable. The requirement now being addressed is for an integrated metadata world with a master modelmediating access to all metadata and an organic user interface that adapts to provide each user with a unifiedview of information assets. The best of breed solution presents a very clean and simple browser-based interface forthe business or technical user, and allows information assets to be discovered and explored without requiring anyunderstanding of such complexities as metadata or metamodels. Model Definition andManagementMetadata MartsApplication ProgrammingSecurity and WorkflowMetadata Integration and Reconciliation Role DefinitionSemantic metadataInterfaces Metadata TransportRole andStores MechanismsFunction Classic metadata Sensitive UserInterfacesConfiguration and Version Control, Archive and BackupFigure 2: The Best Of Breed Metadata WorldThe Information Management Grandmasters ChecklistSo whats the player to do? Certainly, switch from checkers to chess but what does one need to consider in orderto win at chess? The best chess players are honored as Grandmasters. What makes an Information ManagementGrandmaster? Its certainly an important question. A recent analyst survey (Forrsights Business Decision-MakersSurvey, Q4 2011, Forrester Research Inc., 2011) makes the point that nearly half of all business leaders have had theirexpectations of enterprise IT changed by their use of consumer technology, and IT is expected to keep up.We offer this Grandmaster checklist to help you create and execute a successful metadata strategy and raise yourgame. Beware! Some of the items are deceptively simple to describe, but may require considerable skill to achieve: Recognize and continually market the need for pervasive sustainable metadata management. Those we have seen be most successful have branded their metadata management initiatives (usually not saying metadata) and sold and resold it as business management changes. Make the financial value of metadata visible. Grandmasters have an annual metadata business plan that describes proposed initiatives with costs and benefits for the next year and review results against predictions every year with business management.6
  7. 7. Time To Step Up Your Information Management Game? Manage expectations. Tell consumers this is what you are going to get. Provide what you promise. Allow feedback when expectations are not met, and take corrective action. Deal with the technology disconnect. The iGAP is real and getting worse. Look for a metadata management platform that can manage all types of metadata, and dynamically adapt to the needs of changing user communities. Find metadata management approaches that minimize dependence on scarce technical skills. Recognize the cultural disconnect. Commit to putting in place Information Management leaders who combine technical expertise with the ability to see the business users point of view. Make sure that all user communities are provided with built-in mechanisms that allow them to influence the evolution of metadata management facilities (without expecting them to know thats what theyre doing!)Changing your game is not easy, so why bother? At a personal level, it comes down to asking how you want to beperceived. Are you a utility player with a limited set of moves that serve a limited range of objectives, or are you amaster strategist who can be relied on to come up with the right creative Information Management moves to addvalue to your business? From a business perspective how do you view your investment in information? Is it anunmanaged cost of doing business or an investment in optimizing use of people and money, accelerating time-to-market and minimizing information-related risk? A well thought out and well executed metadata managementstrategy ensures that every person in your organization can make the best possible use of information. Businessprocesses are operated more efficiently; decisions are made more quickly and accurately. Business changes are madeas rapidly as possible. Information is protected from misuse and improper exposure. Information Grandmasters aregame-changers for their enterprises. Isnt that what you want to be?BibliographyCarr, N. G. (2004). Does IT Matter? Information technology and the corrosion of competitive advantage. Boston,Massachusetts, USA: Harvard Business School Press.Drucker, P. F. (1969). The Age of Discontinuity. Harper Collins.English Draughts. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_draughtsForrester Research Inc. (2011). Forrsights Business Decision-Makers Survey, Q4 2011. Cambridge, Mass.: ForresterResearch Inc.Lincoln, T. (1986). Do Computer Systems Really Pay-off? Information and Management , 11 (1), 25-34.Toffler, A. (1970). Future Shock (First ed.). Random House.Westerman, G., & Hunter, R. (2007). IT Risk: Turning Business Threats into Competitive Advantage. Boston, Massachusetts:Harvard Business School Publishing. 7
  8. 8. A recognized innovator in enterprise IT software solutions, ASG Software Solutions has been optimizing 85 percent of the worlds most complex IT organizations for more than25 years. We create and deploy unique software solutions that reduce cost, mitigate risk and improve service delivery throughout the IT lifecycle. ASGs comprehensive solutionshelp you solve todays challenges, such as Cloud Computing and big data, while driving your business forward by providing insight and control across Cloud, distributed andmainframe environments. ASG is a privately held global company based in Naples, Florida, with more than 70 offices worldwide. www.asg.comASG Worldwide Headquarters | 1.239.435.2200 or 1.800.932.55361333 Third Avenue South Naples, Florida USA 34102Copyright 2012 Allen Systems Group, Inc.All products mentioned are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.ASG_Checkers_to_Chess_White_Paper_20120403en