The EIM Puzzle – November 2012

In one of my previous TDAN,com columns, the concept of an enterprise information management (EIM) Center of Expertise (CoE) was presented. The creation of an EIM Center of Expertise 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.

 One major responsibility of an EIM CoE is to assure that there is a holistic and strategic approach to information management for the enterprise, one that addresses the needs of the business units and IT while incorporating best practices of data governance, master data management, metadata management, data architecture, data quality management, etc… Many organizations have fractured approaches to one or more of these EIM components, and this disjointed set of policies can cause disconcertion and confusion among all levels of the enterprise.

An additional responsibility of the EIM CoE is to see that all appropriate EIM-related artifacts are prepared with the same level of quality throughout the organization and that those artifacts are governed by the CoE. Often, the artifacts prepared by one analyst or project team may differ dramatically from those of another –  in quality, format, requirements, etc. If not centrally governed, the artifacts produced are highly dependent on the person or team producing them. Without the services of a CoE, an uneven quality of products will result, with increases to project risk for any project that includes one or more EIM-related components.

It is essential that the EIM CoE assume leadership in support of projects that include any EIM-related components. Including the EIM CoE leadership in all project governance ensures that the organization’s approach to EIM and its components are applied to all projects within the organization. Finally, assistance in conducting post-project analysis allows the EIM CoE to discuss and identify areas of improvement for EIM and its components, allowing for the continuous improvement of the organization’s EIM strategy and execution.

Some fundamental responsibilities of an EIM CoE would include:

  • Development and implementation of data standards to reduce complexity in the information management environment
  • Management of master data policies and definition so common data reconciles across all systems 
  • Development and implementation of policies to improve data quality across the enterprise environment
  • Alignment with information technology to enable traceability of the flow of information across all systems in the architecture 
  • Ability to scale the EIM CoE to meet future business growth 
  • Skills and knowledge that address the needs of an initiating project and can be extended across the wider enterprise environment 
  • Reduction of unnecessary duplication of effort for information management 
  • Development of consistent information management processes for the enterprise 
  • Alignment with software development processes that include EIM components without sacrificing project goals

An EIM Center of Expertise, actual or virtual, is a comprehensive package of roles and corresponding activities. It should focus on implementing the current thought leadership and best practices in EIM for the development of an organizational concentration on information-related growth. Implementing an EIM CoE shows that the organization is dedicated to building, maintaining and supporting information management for the enterprise in a way that fits its organizational structure and culture. Additionally, an EIM CoE provides confidence within the organization for the ability to implant non-disruptively the concepts and practices of enterprise information management across business areas and information technology.

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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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