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Data Management - Organizational Roles and Responsibilities

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Chapter 6. Organizational Roles and Responsibilities

No effective data strategy will ever be developed without a primary responsibility assigned at a high enough level so that the rest of the organization will take the effort seriously and cooperate to make it a success. First of all, the chief information officer (CIO) and the chief technology officer (CTO) (or higher) must make it clear that creating and implementing a data strategy is critical to the success of the organization.The CIO should describe the reasons for the data strategy to all the stakeholders and, if possible, solicit buy in from them. The CTO evaluates technical alternatives and sets technical direction for IT. The CTO's performance plan should include developing, maintaining, and enforcing the data strategy. We need to be careful about the title of CTO and know where he or she reports, which must be to the CIO, who has overall responsibility for all IT operations

Building the Teams Who Create and Maintain the Strategy

Creating a strategy takes more time and effort than it takes to maintain it. At a minimum, while the data strategy is being developed, a full-time person (let's call him or her the data strategist) should be dedicated to this effort. The data strategy team consists of the following individuals:

Database administrator

Data administrator


Technical strategist

The ideal candidates from each group are the managers. It's imperative that the team meets regularly, at least once a week, to discuss status, issues, decisions that need to be made, and how to communicate the data strategy.

Sample Agenda for Weekly Data Strategy Team Meeting

These meetings should be scheduled for no more than 1 hour and less if there is not much to cover or report on. The meetings should always start on time, always end on time, and no time should be spent filling in anyone who comes late. An agenda for the meeting should always be provided ahead of time. The meeting should always be recorded by a scribe and the minutes distributed the same day to all the attendees as well as anyone else interested in the project. Donuts encourage the sugar freaks to come early. Keep the meeting on track, don't let the discussion degenerate into topics that are not on the agenda, and know what topics should be tabled, assigned, and left to another meeting. The attendees should know that the meeting will be crisp, constructive, and will not waste time.

The following is an outline you can follow to produce your agenda for each meeting:

Discussion of agenda (does anything need to be added?)

Questions and discussion from the last meeting (based on minutes of the meeting)

Status (where you are, what's been accomplished, and what's been decided)

Reports from people with to-do lists

Topics for discussion (this section gets fleshed out)

Decisions that need to be made and sign-offs that are needed from other managers

Assignment of to-do list items with timeframes (when they are due)

Agenda topics for next week's meeting


Resistance to Change

As you build up your data strategy team, be aware that you might encounter resistance. People often feel threatened when they see changes to the status quo.

Existing Organization

The folks in IT don't like change if they believe it will diminish the power of the IT group. This is particularly true for managers. Managers put forward countless reasons why the organization should stay as is, especially if a change can decrease the number of employees they control because managers often equate headcount to power in the organization.

If the technicians are comfortable with the roles and the functions they perform, they do not want those designated functions to change. Few people welcome the new challenge.

“Reasons” for Resistance

This is just the most current initiative. We all pretend like it will happen and waste lots of time, but in the end, nothing good comes of it.

If we have to follow the standards imposed by the data strategy, it will cause our project schedule to slip.

The powers that be in the IT organization

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