Wildcat big data silos add splash of ungovernability to enterprise IT

Wildcat big data projects are threatening to add a layer of ungovernability to enterprise IT, says MDM godfather Aaron Zornes

Wildcat big data projects are threatening to add a layer of ungovernability to enterprise IT, says MDM godfather Aaron Zornes.

“These one-off Hadoop projects are silos, but they are not permanent. They are relatively cheap, but it does add up," said Zornes, founder of the MDM Institute, in an interview with Computer Weekly ahead of IRM UK’s Master Data Management (MDM) Summit, which he will chair and at which he is a keynote speaker.

Last year, Computer Weekly found Zornes “rising in anger at big data." 

Is he still so rising? 

“I feel sorry for friends in the industry in sales. It is a real thing, big data. But this hysteria? Sales and product managers are being told ‘make the product do big data’. [Suppliers] don’t want to be left out in the rush."

In relation to the social media vector of big data, MDM can help in who is talking about what and to whom, explained Zornes. That is important for understanding customer lifetime value, the propensity to defraud, next best offer for a customer, which customers to treat “like a god”, which to write off and so on.

These are disposable platforms from one-off projects. It’s like cowboy capitalism

Aaron Zornes

However, many Hadoop big data efforts are reminiscent of the “wildcats of oil or gold rushes," he said. 

“And these are disposable platforms from one-off projects. It’s like cowboy capitalism."

Zornes said he was concerned enough about the lack of big data governance to write the foreword to Sunil Soares’ book Big data governance: an emerging imperative

“You can build all the data warehouses, data marts and Hadoop servers you want, and have all your little groups of data scientists with their white coats, but you still run the risk of data escaping and data contamination," he said.

“You can’t just have a laissez-faire attitude to data. But [in respect of the big data hype] European IT managers much more level-headed. They are not so prone to being marketed to. In the US, you are bombarded by marketing from the moment you wake till the day you die.

“Social MDM, mobile MDM, cloud MDM, big data MDM, time travel MDM? All these are like US TV advertising saying you need a deodorant for your nose, not just your armpits."

For more on big data and MDM

In the MDM market, Zornes pointed to increased attempts by relatively newer companies like Orchestra, Stibo and Software AG to cast IBM, Oracle, Informatica and SAP as “legacy” MDM. 

They present themselves as next generation MDM because they use “semantic databases to manage the relationships of a complex MDM system. But they don’t have proven scale or depth."

The megasuppliers, meanwhile, are “based on relational databases so they lack the semantic layer that the newer players have. But they do have high-end scalability.

“So, that’s the dogma. One group says ‘it has to be one piece of software’, the other says ‘no, it has to be custom-built’. The reality is that both are appropriate for different scales of each organisation."

Last year, before the 2012 version of the same conference, Zornes predicted that master data governance would join MDM to BPM [business process management].

“That has not happened as fast as we would have like. At least it has not been as noisily announced. IBM has quietly put BPM at all levels of the product. 

"The others – for example Kalido and Collibra – have built product specific BPM. Tibco has tended to do the best job of that due to their heritage as a BPM company."

At the event, Zornes will speak on Mastering the fundamentals: “master data governance” to unify MDM and RDM [reference data management] programmes and present Field reports for 'top 15' MDM, RDM & Master Data Governance Solutions’.

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