The number of data systems and applications of an organization keeps growing. And in most cases these new systems and applications need to be integrated with other systems and applications to make them more efficient and effective. Therefore, there are often system integration projects in the works. And in this blog post we stress that using data governance during a system integration project will be of great benefit to the project and to the organization.
When data is fragmented across an organization, it can become incredibly difficult to make informed decisions around resource allocation and programs, therefore a need for integration. To eliminate the fragmentation of data, data governance needs to be in place so that there is one central knowledgebase of information about data systems and the data in these systems.
First you need to know what you are integrating. Start with having a data system inventory done for each system being integrated. Determine who is involved in the integration technically and functionally. A reason why integration projects are so difficult is that they usually involve different folks in different departments. Therefore, you need a formal process of approvals and communication for the project which are strong points of data governance when it is in place. The requestor (usually a functional person) and the integration technical person need to work together. A data governance request process will help the integration project go smoother. And having the documentation regarding the integration (a specification) will keep all the parties on the same page.
An integration project is a rare opportunity where you evaluate and touch many data items. Documenting integrations (in what we call specifications) in a data governance knowledgebase with an approval process involving data stewards will have long term benefits. Data items documented for an integration project will be available for future projects of any type (ERP migration, reporting solution change, etc.). The integration specification will include the purpose of the integration and explain the specific integration being done. Document the data mappings and code values (reference data) involved in the integration. Make sure specifications are accessible by everyone involved in the project.
There are many results and benefits to using data governance during a system integration project such as better project communication and approval, better documentation of the project and creation of technical information that can be used in the future. A side benefit of an integration project is that they tend to involve many of the same stakeholders that would be on a data governance committee, thus allowing a good opportunity to create stronger relationships. Also, when using data governance during a system integration project there is an opportunity to advance data governance within the organization.
Hope that this blog post was helpful to you in improving on your system integration related projects.
IData has a solution, the Data Cookbook, that can aid the employees and the organization in its data governance, data stewardship and data quality initiatives. IData also has experts that can assist with data governance, reporting, integration and other technology services on an as needed basis. Feel free to contact us and let us know how we can assist.
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