From the Editor: Big data arrives, but plagued by governance challenges and skills shortage

Big data offers big opportunities, but governance challenges and skills shortages could pose big problems.

Big data has made it on to the Today programme, on BBC Radio 4. Last Friday, Sarah Montague interviewed a UK executive from a supplier of systems for reading machine-generated data, Splunk. The drift of her questions was towards security and privacy – or data governance, to put it in our "data world" terms. So, good news is that big data has entered the national conversation. Bad news is that big data has entered the national conversation.

I owe the tenor of that observation to Jill Dyché, vice-president, thought leadership, at DataFlux, who reported in her keynote at this week's Master Data Management/Data Governance summit in London, that CEOs are avid for big data, which is both good news and bad news, given the ongoing confusion in the market about the topic, and the myths that are accreting to it.

Senior spokespeople for consultancies Accenture and Detica have raised the big data governance issue in briefings with SearchDataManagementUK. They also stressed the business opportunities the big data wave might surface.

Aaron Zornes, of the MDM Institute (and chair of the MDM summit at which Dyché keynoted), sees the current vogue for big data as a distraction from the business value to be gained from Master Data Management, intelligently governed. Master data governance will, in his view, synthesize MDM to business process management. For while master data management and information governance are intertwined as business disciplines in theory, they have been disconnected in practice. New master data governance tools are emerging to seal the gap, contends Zornes.

The challenging governance of big data is one theme emerging from our ongoing coverage of the topic; a stubborn big data analytics skills gap is another. With so many organizations looking to expand their big data analytics capability, there are growing fears that companies will struggle to find and develop the right staff.

Still baffled by big data? SearchDataManagementUK columnist Andy Hayler provides a sinuous guide to the evolution of the phenomenon, showing how big data applications bear choices and challenges.

While it was "big data week" in the UK, the US and Australia, and the week of the MDM/DG summit in London, it was also the week of Infosecurity in London. The disconnect between data governance and infosecurity is real and debilitating, unfortunately. Check out Computer Weekly's comprehensive coverage of Infosecurity Europe 2012.

I hope you find these articles to be of interest. If you would like to contact me about any aspect of data management, analytics or BI, please do so.

Meanwhile, please find below links to other recent articles on SearchDataManagementUK that you might like to explore.

Best wishes,

Brian McKenna

Each month, editors choose recent articles and other content to highlight here for our readers. We welcome your feedback on these items and our site in general–you can contact us directly or at [email protected].


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