Readers' top 10 stories feature BBC, the Army, Shell top 10 stories focused on getting value from “big data,” gaining a single customer view from master data management and using data visualisation to gain a competitive edge.

This article can also be found in the Premium Editorial Download: IT in Europe: Data governance key to MDM takeoff

The data management and business intelligence (BI) strategies of a crop of UK and European household names figure in 2011’s most read SearchDataManagementUK’s stories. From the British Army through the BBC and Shell to Irish Life and the Royal Mail, find out what stories most appealed to readers looking to find out what their peers were doing.

This is our readers’ top 10:

10. BBC evolves digital asset management with ‘Life’

The evolution of the BBC’s digital asset management programme, known as its “Digital Media Initiative,” was borne out in its Life natural history series. Executive director of the Natural History Unit Mike Gunton told the “behind the scenes” data capture and management story to delegates at a forthcoming data management conference in London -- both the broadcast footage and how the BBC curated the greater mass of the footage not shown.

9. Data governance framework seen as bedrock of airline MDM strategy

Air France-KLM believed it has much to gain from an effective master data management (MDM) strategy, both in terms of streamlining business intelligence (BI) processes and delivering reliable business insights to operational teams. At the same time, the airline group knew it had much to lose by rushing headlong into a decision on MDM tools and deployment strategies without carefully laying the groundwork first.

8. Royal Mail delivers enterprise master data management

The head of management information at the Royal Mail and his Accenture consultancy colleague see their recent enterprise master data management programme as an example of how to marry people and technology to the detriment of neither and the benefit of both.

7. Irish Life chooses Tableau data visualisation over QlikView, Oracle

Irish Life Group has chosen Tableau for data visualisation to put an end to what Paul Egan, IT manager for business intelligence at the life assurance company, called the “MIS Monday madness” of Excel spreadsheets and Microsoft Access.

6. Shell enterprise MDM foundation proof of concept disturbs rulebook

Last year, oil and gas giant Shell executed an enterprise MDM proof-of-concept project that ripped up the rule book. It is a nostrum of corporate IT that IT should never lead the business. And so the drive for MDM should come from the business, not IT and not data architecture. Yet Shell’s group lead data architect Andrew Schulze and Duncan Slater, an Accenture consultant working on the project, took the oft derided “build it and they will come” path.

5. DHL uses product-level track and trace system for high-value air cargo

Expensive vaccines and boxes of sushi are among the objects that companies need to track and trace more intensively in an increasingly globalised world. Deutsche Post DHL, an international logistics and delivery firm, turned to a track and trace system based on technology from OnAsset Intelligence in 2009 to meet a pharmaceutical company’s international “cold chain” needs for temperature-controlled deliveries.

4. Oxford University uses data visualization to gain enterprise view

Oxford University is using data visualization software to gain a better view of its student administration, finance and procurement information. It has also discovered benefits in being able to react rapidly when the university is in the media spotlight and in communicating with potential and current students.

3. Lloyds bank on MDM for business integration in M&A

Two years ago, Lloyds Banking Group's merger with HBOS doubled the size of the company. That move radically complicated the company's longstanding effort to put master data management at the heart of its business strategy and gain a single customer view. It's a goal Lloyds has been working towards for 15 years, Chris Farnworth, lead information architect for Lloyds Banking Group, told delegates at IRM UK’s spring MDM summit in London.

2. British Army's data quality initiative opens new intelligence vista

The British Army’s data quality and governance programmes have improved cost control and manpower planning and laid the basis for better business intelligence. Since the introduction of the Joint Personnel Administration computer system in 2007, the Army’s experience with solving its data quality problems provides lessons for other, non-military organisations of significant size.

1. McKinsey, Gartner: ‘Big data’ means high value, not just volume

The value of “big data” lies less in its volume than in its variety. This was the gist of a report from the McKinsey Global Institute, Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity. Gartner made a similar case, based on their research. Yvonne Genovese, research vice president and analyst, told that “Big data is just the start. In the future, the full range of extreme information management issues -- of which volume is just one aspect -- will pose even greater challenges, but also enable the emergence of even more significant business opportunities.”

Read more on Master data management (MDM) and integration