The EIM Puzzle – February 2013

In previous columns, the concept of an enterprise information management 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.

Forming an EIM CoE takes planning, investment, and commitment – otherwise the ability to articulate the value of the EIM CoE will never be achieved. It is essential to have senior/executive business and IT support for the EIM initiative before embarking on the development of the CoE. Also, the establishment of the center should fit within the organization’s culture to be effective.

The formation of an EIM CoE consists of these main steps:

  • Assessment of the current state of EIM and its components
  • Development of a vision statement for EIM and each of its components
  • Development of a mission statement for EIM and for each of its components
  • Development of EIM program scope, sponsorship, CoE leadership and support expectations
  • Development of chosen CoE model and working structure
  • Development of EIM component structures, component program plans, resource plans, alignment with existing initiatives, etc.
  • Identification of metrics and value proposition for EIM
  • Development of communications and socializations plans
  • Maintenance and continuous enhancement of new competencies and periodic assessment of EIM and component maturity

Start by assessing the current state of EIM and component maturity across the enterprise against established guidelines; some can be found in the DAMA-DMBoK©. Evaluate skill assessments by comparing results against industry benchmarks, found through the Certified Data Management Professional program. It is important to note that some consulting organizations specialize in performing EIM and component assessments, having developed methods for evaluating organizations’ maturity in EIM against industry standards, but many organizations have done internal assessments with varying levels of success.

Define and authorize the establishment of the CoE by writing a charter for the EIM CoE, this document communicates a common understanding of the CoE’s goals among all stakeholders. The charter for a CoE typically includes a vision statement, a summary of the business goals and benefits, a set of guiding principles, and a statement of the COE’s intended scope.

An essential component of any successful CoE is executive-level sponsorship to champion and evangelize the value of the CoE and to provide executive leadership support and strategic guidance for the EIM program. The executive sponsor should be positioned to assess the enterprise interests against those of a single line of business so that the overall value of enterprise information management and its CoE are recognized and communicated to stakeholders throughout the organization. Doing so ensures that the EIM CoE initiative will be supported actively by IT and business management teams.

Also, it is critical to identify key business and IT stakeholders in the CoE. Since the EIM CoE involves multiple functions and multiple lines of business across an organization, involving the right levels of influence across the organization can make or break the CoE.

Typically, an EIM CoE is staffed by a combination of permanent members, virtual team members, and some supplemental resources from external firms, such as consultants. The CoE must work closely with the organization’s IT function, whether centralized or distributed, and should include representatives from business areas and corporate entities such as legal/compliance functions. Additionally, it is crucial that every project undertaken by the organization have an EIM CoE representative assigned initially to ascertain if EIM-related activities will be needed. If so, the project’s EIM CoE representative should request that the appropriate resources be assigned to the project and the organization’s EIM methodology should be employed through the services of members of the CoE. One task for the CoE’s formation period is to determine the structure and the procedures that the COE and other units and the PMO will use to interact, both during the CoE’s formation and once the center is fully functional.

To ensure the CoE’s continued success, it is important to establish the base metrics. These metrics will serve as key performance indicators that can be used for monitoring, reporting, and managing the program and measuring its effect on the organization. Two categories of metrics would be Program metrics (e.g., number of concurrent projects, costs of the program, solution adoption, user adoption, demand pipeline, and implementation time) and Operational metrics (availability, stability, and responsiveness, transaction volumes and performance, and customer satisfaction).

A communications plan is an essential component of any successful organizational endeavor. The plan should indicate how the executive sponsors and other leaders will remain informed about the activities of the EIM CoE. The messages that result from the communications plan create awareness of the CoE throughout the organization, including announcing new services and publicizing CoE successes. Communications can take many forms, and all appropriate ones should be used.

Effective communications help to increase user awareness of EIM and the CoE, and can influence user adoption of enterprise information management. Learning about the center’s successes and how it addresses challenges helps keep sponsors and stakeholders involved, making it easier to expand the adoption of EIM throughout the organization and to leverage the center’s effectiveness.

Finally, maintain and enhance the EIM CoE’s staff skills through continuous competency monitoring and improvement. This involves regular self-study, re-certification, individual competency assessment, periodic training, and opportunities to attend EIM, data management and component-centered conferences and networking gatherings.

ConclusionIn conclusion, creating an enterprise information management Center of Expertise significantly increases the maturity of an organization and can have a positive effect on its information assets. A successful EIM CoE must receive constant support and must be challenged to deliver value to the organization.

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Anne Marie Smith, Ph.D.

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 and through her LinkedIn profile at

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