IT: How to Survive in a Self-Service World

IT: How to Survive in a Self-Service World


This article aims to explain to IT and data professionals how to satisfy users' expectations about data access management while ensuring data control and data security. It provides advice for how to stimulate the use of governed, self-service data preparation.

8.33 AM, coffee in hand (the 3rd since the alarm clock anyway), Executive Management floor, Dominique says to Jean-Christophe: "Don’t tell me we need to wait for IT to have access to this data! ". Or the more rational scenario may go something like this: "We need clean, complete and trusted data on consumer behavior  during the meeting at 12:00 PM: no exceptions!"

Getting complete data sets on consumer behavior may be doable, except that in this scenario IT is you. Who has not felt this mixed feeling, between rising stress and wanting to take up the challenge?

A quick diagnosis of the data landscape shows:

- The expected data exists but is disseminated throughout the organization in silos: various applications, data repositories, etc.

- The quality of the data is questionable and therefore it needs to be reviewed, cleaned and organized

- The ability to associate this data with other data set requires a familiarity with the information (often only known by business users)

- Some of the employees using these applications can access the data themselves and will often export it into Excel

Data management: Should concessions be made?

It is widely proven and accepted that a data-driven organization optimizes its performance. For example, per the McKinsey Datamatics Survey, data-driven companies have a 23x greater customer acquisition, 6x better customer retention, and 19x larger profits. But how does a company establish a culture of being data-driven?

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The CDO 2016 barometer estimates that 80 percent of current projects aim to help a company become 'data-driven'. The use of data is spreading rapidly at all levels of every organization and across  all departments. As the volumes and varieties of data continue to rise, the use of data becomes more frequent.. Subsequently, the demand for the availability of real-time data to make business decisions grows.

The aspiration created by the consumerization of data gives more power to business users. Refusing to consider  business users’ demands for more agility, autonomy, and collaboration, is dangerous. Whether they are experts in data or business users, if IT denies them access, they will find a workaround—otherwise known as ‘shadow IT’, which may jeopardize your enterprise information.

Having an overbearing IT department goes against the core mission corporate IT is supposed to fulfill, which is to enable employees to be productive and successful in their roles. The challenge is finding a way to make data available to employees in a safe, governed, secure way. The 2016 CXP Group - Qlik Barometer found that 34 percent of IT and BI managers are no longer involved in data-related projects. The idea of allowing employees to have self-service, data access and management scares IT. The misconception is that IT will lose control over the sanctity and security of enterprise data by implementing self-service data preparation.

Is your organization currently challenged by the fact that despite centralized Business Intelligence tools and information repositories, data still circulates in the form of Excel files? If this is the case, the question is no longer about how to maintain control of enterprise information because it’s already been lost. The increasing risk of cyber-attacks and data leaks makes this repossession of control even more crucial and urgent. Cybercriminals no longer need to target application systems. They simply target the messaging systems. For example, on average a company will have 6097 files containing the word 'salary' and reside outside primary business applications.

BIG IT is Not the Answer but IT has the Answer to Deliver Reliable and Secure Data

Because business demands are too numerous and varied to be satisfied by a single department, centralizing data management in the hands of IT lacks the ability to scale. Centralized IT will only result in the frustration of both IT side and business users.

Because no one is better qualified than an accountant to clean up, enrich and reconcile billing and supplier portfolio data, or a marketing manager to do the same on leads generated by a given event, the competencies and the ability to make sense of data is – by definition - distributed across  each line of business.

But because clean vendor billing files or enriched new lead marketing files create value for the business and deserve to be shared and reused within the organization, having an IT framework that allows for this type of collaboration is important to have with the appropriate  data management and security rules.

Because individual employee data preparations will be even more useful if they can be shared and accessed by  all the company's data sources and feed all its target applications, IT is justified in orchestrating  these centralized repositories.

Self-service, Governed Data Preparation is the Holy Grail for  IT and Business Users

The traditional border between the data producer and user has faded: we are all producers and users.

IT has a unique opportunity in front of it to keep (or regain) its role as a catalyst for change in the company. Take the initiative to set up and exploit collaborative enterprise repositories and rely on self-service data-processing solutions vs. those that are centrally managed.

The best self-service data preparation platforms enable IT to deliver massive individual productivity gains for all employees, as well as collective insight through collaboration. They allow the integration of all data sources and targets. They ensure the consistency, compliance and security of data management.

Self-service data preparation tools represent an opportunity for all IT professionals to meet immediacy, autonomy and collaboration needs of employees, while maintaining data governance, and escape the pitfalls of maintaining Big IT.

Matt Aslett, Research Director for the Data Platforms and Analytics group at 451 Research, said,  "We anticipate greater interest in 2017 and beyond in products that deliver data governance and data management capabilities as an enabler for self-service analytics."

11:12 AM, Executive Management floor, Jean-Christophe to Dominique: "The customer data is ready! I have provided a self-service data preparation platform to marketing employees. As a result, the profiling data from our CRM system has been standardized and rehabilitated by Anne-Sophie in Marketing Operations and then enriched with the latest online activities of our customers by Andrew of the Digital department, and finally approved by their manager before feeding our BI application. We’re all set for today’s meeting! "

If you are a Jean-Christophe at Talend, you're in luck! Learn how your Talend platform already allows you to implement governed, self-service data preparation.

Not Jean-Christophe? No need to change your first name. You can to learn how to adopt Talend technologies by clicking here.


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