I had the opportunity this week to attend a CDM Summit in Atlanta and sat in on one of the best-ever executive sessions on data-driven transformation. The keynote was Miguel Llopez from IBM’s Unified Governance practice. Here’s what directors and executives can learn from Miguel:

  1. Governance is key (as we all knew already), but it needs to be in place across all platforms, not in silos. Otherwise, not only won’t you get to the monetization opportunities, but you won’t be set up for leveraging AI in meaningful ways. Miguel says to go ahead and pay attention to what tools are going to do the best job in each area but integrate wherever you can. He goes so far as to recommend you do planning, delivery and training as cross-functional activities- that’s the way to get speed in the transformation work.
  2. 80 per cent of data projects will fail. Yeesh. Miguel says the way to be in the 20 per cent is to stay in discovery for as long as you need to rather than be rushed into the next phase of the work.
  3. Recognize and get rid of your ‘dark data’. If it’s old or not useful, it is just going to clog your proverbial arteries. Make it go away. I see lots of transformation projects that kick off with migrating Terabytes of history – they need to stop!

It all just confirms my hypothesis that the laws of abundance can help with the data explosion.

Directors and executives need to expect clarity in roles and oversight of data collection and use. If you don’t want your investments to be in the 80 per cent bucket, you need to embrace governance at the board level. Don’t get swept up in grand gestures aimed at reducing expenses and enabling growth where undefined new data strategies are at the core.

Don’t leave your technology teams to unpack the issues; step up and make sure that your responsibility and governance frameworks to respect the bigger picture.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
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Alizabeth Calder
Alizabeth Calder is a senior technology strategist and a certified corporate director (ICD.D) Alizabeth is also a successful author. Her most recent project – Duty of Care; An Executive Guide for Corporate Boards in the Digital Era – is a much-needed guide for business leaders who need to close their digital knowledge gap in order to make the right decisions about digital technology investment and deployments. Alizabeth has been an active CIO since 1997. Her strategic accomplishments cross many industry sectors and demonstrate the practical value she brings to the digital conversation. As a CIO on demand and consultant, Alizabeth has delivered more than $1B in transformational investments.