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Data Management Maturity

by Michael H. Brackett
Published: August 1, 2003

The 2003 Data Management and Information Quality Conferences will be held on the 27th through the 29th of October in London. Three great conference - DAMA International Europe Conference, Information Quality Europe Conference, and Meta Data Europe Conference - have again merged to continue the tradition of Europe's most authoritative event on data and information. Attendees can select from an expanded and enhanced set of tutorials and sessions covering a wide variety of data management and quality topics. Noted speakers, like John Zachman, Michael Brackett, Larry English, and many others, will provide concepts, insight, and experiences on current issues and future trends in the data management discipline. Numerous vendors will be available to explain and demonstrate their products and services.

The newly formed DAMA UK Chapter will be the host for a Conferences. There will be an informal meeting of the DAMA UK Chapter members and anyone interested in forming or joining a DAMA Chapter. The DAMA UK Chapter members will share their experiences and lessons learned with Chapter formation. Anyone interested in forming Chapters in France, Benelux, or any other country is welcome to attend the meeting. You do not need to register for the Conference to attend this meeting.

There will also be a meeting for anyone interested in forming or belonging to permanent DAMA SIGs. DAMA International is establishing a variety of permanent SIGs in prominent topic areas, such as architecture, modeling, quality, warehousing, stewardship, lexicon, and so on. These SIGs will be international in scope and will concentrate on a specific topic area. The emphasis is on helping achieve maturity in the data management discipline through a free exchange of ideas. Each SIG will have an online discussion group and regular meetings at the DAMA International Conferences. You do not need to register the Conference to attend this meeting.

These permanent SIGs are part of the new orientation for DAMA International to lead the data management discipline toward maturity. Now that DAMA International has achieved the status of the premier organization for data management professionals worldwide, it can concentrate on promoting maturity in the profession. Other major initiatives of DAMA International are in the areas of professional certification, educational curriculum, and the establishment of a DAMA Education and Research Foundation.

Most of you are aware that we are still in a period of economic hard times with increased cutbacks and layoffs. However, there are signs that the economy is improving and analysts predict that we will look back on these times as one of the best investment opportunities in history. I think we will also look back at these times as a wake-up call that we have not been doing as professional job as we should have been doing in data management. We have not supported the organization's business as it should have been supported. But, like financial investments, we can begin investing in professional data management.

Data must be managed with the same level of formality and intensity the other critical resources in the organization are managed. Looking at it another way around, what would happen if finances, real property, and human resources were managed the same as we have been managing the data resource? The answer to that question should be obvious to anyone familiar with the major financial and human resource events of the last several years. The time will come when organizations, executives, and managers will be held accountable for the quality of their data and information.

In fact, the United States has implemented a Data Quality Act which is the first step in that direction. Federal agencies will be held accountable for the quality of their data. I believe this trend will continue into state government, local government, and the private sector. All public and private sector organizations will, sooner or later, be held accountable for the quality of their data resource and the quality of the information produced from that data resource.

As data management professionals, information professionals, business intelligence professionals, and business professionals, we all need to be aware of the problems with our current data resources and what needs to be done to resolve these problems. We all need to contribute to the development of a professional data and information management discipline that fully supports the information needs of an intelligent, learning organization. Now, as the economy strengthens, is the time for us to build a formal data management discipline.

If this is your desire, or your organization's desire, then you need to attend the Data Management and Information Quality Conferences in London. Take part in the Conferences, join a DAMA Chapter, join a DAMA Special Interest Group, share with your colleagues, and contribute toward a maturing data management discipline. The opportunity is here and the rewards are definitely worth the effort.

I hope to see you in London.

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Michael H. Brackett is the President of DAMA International.