DAMA-DMBOK book review

Diagram showing the importance and result of w...Image via Wikipedia
“What do you do?”

I am asked this question frequently. Family members, church friends, even recruiters and coworkers sometimes ask this question.

Depending on the audience, I will say something like “work with computers”, or “I’m a DBA.” or “I’m a database developer.”

Dr. Richard Feynman once said: “If you can't explain something to a first year student, then you haven't really understood it.”

The DAMA – Data Management Body of Knowledge is a work that attempts to document and formalize the definition of the Data Management profession.

According to the book, a Data Management Professional is responsible for the planning, controlling and delivery of data and information assets.

The thing that impressed me the most is that it brought together so many formal definitions of many various concepts that I work with on a daily basis. Whole books can, indeed have, been written on each component of data management touched on in the body of knowledge. One of the values of this book is the bibliography. If one were to acquire every book referenced in this work they would have an impressive library of data management knowledge.

Another thing that was impressive to me is this book advocates the role of the Data Management Executive. The Data Management Executive is defined as: “The highest-level manager of Data Management Services organizations in an IT department. The DM Executive reports to the CIO and is the manager most directly responsible for data management, including coordinating data governance and data stewardship activities, overseeing data management projects and supervising data management professionals. May be a manager, director, AVP or VP.” I have worked with and in many organizations; very few actually had an “official” data management executive. As a result, data movement into and out of the organization has been something of a haphazard process. Each project that required movement of data was approached differently. If a single official point of contact for all data management activities existed, then these projects could have been more streamlined to fit into an overarching design for the enterprise as a whole.

Each chapter covers a different aspect of the overall Data Management Profession.  The first chapter gives an overview of why data is a corporate asset. The definition of data as a corporate asset is the foundation of all data management activities. Focusing on data as an asset first, then the follow on activities discussed in the major component chapters are seen as value-add activities.
 This picture illustrate the Data Architecture ...Image via Wikipedia
The major components of Data Management covered by the chapters and the definitions the DMBOK provides are:

Data Governance: The exercise of authority and control (planning, monitoring and enforcement) over the management of data assets. The chapter gives an overview of the data governance function and how it impacts all of the other functions. Data Governance is the foundation for the other functions.

Data Architecture: An integrated set of specifications artifacts used to define data requirements, guide interaction and control of data assets, and align data investments with business strategy.

Data Development: The subset of project activities within the system development lifecycle (SDLC) focused on defining data requirements, designing the data solution components and implementing these components.

Data Operations Management: The development, maintenance and support of structured data to maximize the value of the data resources to the enterprise. Data operations management includes two sub-functions: database support and data technology management.

Data Security Management: The planning, development and execution of security policies and procedures to provide proper authentication, authorization, access and auditing of data and information assets.

Reference and Master Data Management: The ongoing reconciliation and maintenance of reference data and master data.

Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence Management: This is a combination of two primary components. The first is an integrated decision support database. The second is the related software programs used to collect, cleanse, transform, and store data from a variety of operational and external sources. Both of these parts combined to support historical, analytical and business intelligence requirements.

Document and Content Management: The control over capture, storage, access, and use of data and information stored outside relational databases. Document and Content Management focuses on integrity and access. Therefore, it is roughly equivalent to data operations management for relational databases.

Meta-data Management: The set of process that ensure proper creation, storage, integration and control to support associated usage of meta-data.

Data Quality Management: A critical support process in organizational change management. Changing business focus, corporate business integration strategies, and mergers, acquisitions, and partnering can mandate that the IT function blend data sources, create gold data copies, retrospectively populate data or integrate data. The goals of interoperability with legacy or B2B systems need the support of a DQM program.

The last chapter covers Professional Development, ethics, and how DAMA( Data Management International) dama provides a professional society body or guild for the communal support of information and data management professionals.

Overall this is an outstanding book for defining the roles associated with data management. While it is light on details for implementing the programs, processes and projects that it defines, it is nevertheless a great book for creating a common vocabulary amongst professionals who work day-to-day in the data management profession.

The more we, as data management professionals, communicate consistently with business users, executives, and the public about what we do the better it will be for all of us when one of us is asked “what we do”.

My answer now is I am a Data Management Professional. I can assist you with better understanding, delivery, analysis, security and integrity of your data. 

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Data as an Enterprise Asset

From the wiki an Asset is: "Anything tangible or intangible that is capable of being owned or controlled to produce value and that is held to have positive economic value is considered an asset"

Data is the most valuable Enterprise Asset's in existence. The recent release of documents on the Wikileaks site is a prime example of this. What will be the final cost associated with the release of these documents? How many man-hours will be devoted to changing procedures, implementing new security protocols, trying to recover loss of face by many government agencies?

Your address book

What would happen if you were to lose your phone?

You would just replace it right?

What about your address book?

How many people keep their contacts in multiple locations for "safekeeping"?

You want to make sure that you keep your contacts regardless of what happens to your phone, right. Data Management professionals feel the same way about the data that they safeguard.

The CEO view

It is 11:43 p.m. on a Friday night. The alcohol from the dinner meeting with investors won’t wear off for a few more hours. You should be fine for the 7:12 a.m. tee time with the next group of potential clients. When the phone rings you just curse and pick it up.

“What!” you yell into the phone.

“Hey boss “, you hear the head of your IT department.

“Listen; there is no easy way to say this. In the storm that we had earlier tonight, we took a handful of lightning strikes and had a tornado touch down on the building itself. The lightning strikes then caused a fire that wasn’t caught until it was too late. The building is pretty much destroyed.

We have already updated DNS to our DR site. Some of the DBA's and server admins are on the way there. Our main network guy is unavailable since he is out of town. We are supposed to have our backup tapes there in a few hours. The server guys will get our servers back up, the DBA's will restore the databases and validate where we are with the data."

What do you do?

If you trust the DR plan and your DBA's, then you can go back to sleep.

Would you sleep well?

How valuable is your data now that you don't know whether you have it or not?

Valuating your data

One way to determine the value of your data is to identify the direct and indirect business benefits derived from use of the data. Another way is to calculate the cost of its loss; what would be the impact of not having the current quality level of your data or the amount of data you have?

What if you only lost a years' worth of data?

What change to revenue would occur?

What would be the cost to recover it? Man-hours, potentially consultant hours as you hire outside expertise if necessary would factor in to the costs.

Data Management Professionals protect your Assets

Data Management Professionals are the ones that protect your data assets. By protecting and safeguarding your data assets, they are protecting and safeguarding the enterprise itself.
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