The EIM Puzzle – August 2012

In my previous columns, the concept of an enterprise information management (EIM) center of expertise was presented. The creation of an EIM Center of Expertise (CoE) is an indication that the organization is reaching a higher level of organizational maturity and has developed a deeper understanding of the need for an enterprise approach to information management. Successful EIM initiatives are supported by an EIM CoE, and sustaining an EIM CoE can lead to an organization’s achieving higher levels of EIM maturity.

Generally, an Enterprise Information Management Center of Expertise should support the following functions:

  • Methodology and best practices
  • Tactical project assistance
  • Education and professional development
  • EIM tools evaluation and selection

Methodology and Best Practices

Every Center of Expertise is founded for a specific discipline, and that discipline requires a methodology for successful implementation. The EIM methodology provides a clear definition of standard approaches for information management planning, monitoring and execution. The DAMA Data Management Body of Knowledge (DAMA-DMBoK©) is the primary reference guide for an enterprise’s information management methodology. The DAMA-DMBoK© represents industry-best practices and, therefore, provides an excellent foundation for the development of a standard data management/EIM methodology.

The refinement of the methodology framework found in the DAMA-DMBoK© must be planned, followed by training the CoE’s members on the specific methodology and practices used by the organization.

It is necessary to create and maintain a collection of company and industry best practices and artifacts for enterprise information management. The CoE would be the central source of these collections and would provide any necessary or requested alterations to those practices or artifacts.

Some CoEs will be led by a consultant when no internal resource with the appropriate skills and leadership can be found. It is common for this senior consultant to “work themselves out of a job” by teaching a staff member to replace the consultant as the CoE leader/methodologist.

Tactical Project Assistance

Usually, the CoE is formed to support projects, providing subject-matter expertise in all areas of enterprise information management (EIM, data governance, data quality, master data management, metadata management, data architecture and modeling, etc.). The EIM CoE must provide assistance and support to projects with EIM-related project coaches, mentors, and appropriate staff. It is essential that EIM be included in all project planning / initiation phase to ensure that the right resources for EIM and its components are scheduled and their activities are understood. Some CoEs would provide the resources directly, others would be aligned with the organizations from which the resources come (e.g., data architects may not work directly for the CoE). Often, starting CoEs will use consultants to support projects in the absence of trained and available staff members.

Education and Professional Development

The EIM CoE is responsible for the management of a standard competency model and associated training curricula, certifications, competency assessments, formalized role definitions, and practices for knowledge sharing. This also includes the creation and maintenance of shared knowledge repositories, discussion forums, and collaborative websites such as “wikis.” There is industry-based DAMA-DMBoK© aligned training available, and most EIM CoEs use this to their advantage. It is important that all members of the CoE be certified as data management professionals (CDMP) with their specialty examination in their targeted area of expertise (data governance, data quality, master data, data warehousing, etc.).

EIM Tool Evaluation and Selection

It is important that the organization adopt a set of tools for enterprise information management. Domains these products would encompass could include master data management, data quality, data governance, data modeling and architecture (if not managed by an existing data architecture group), metadata management, etc. Information on useful and approved tools is a central responsibility of the EIM CoE. Evaluation and selection of tools, in conjunction with appropriate teams from information technology and other areas, would be part of the responsibility of the CoE.

The functions of an Enterprise Information Management Center of Expertise (EIM CoE) should demonstrate the basic definition of a CoE: A team of people who promote collaboration and using best practices around a specific focus area to drive business results.

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About Anne Marie Smith, Ph.D.

Anne Marie Smith, Ph.D., is an acclaimed data management professional, consultant, author and speaker in the fields of enterprise information management, data stewardship and governance, data warehousing, data modeling, project management, business requirements management, IS strategic planning and metadata management. She holds a doctorate in Management Information Systems, and is a certified data management professional (CDMP), a certified business intelligence professional (CBIP), and holds several insurance certifications.

Anne Marie has served on the board of directors of DAMA International and on the board of the Insurance Data Management Association.  She is a member of the MIS faculty of Northcentral University and has taught at several universities. As a thought leader, Anne Marie writes frequently for data / information management publications on a variety of data-oriented topics.  She can be reached through her website at http://www.alabamayankeesystems.com and through her LinkedIn profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/annemariesmith.

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