By Elliot King
The way some enterprises organize themselves, business process owners are said to “own” a specific application or piece of the IT infrastructure. That many not be the case everywhere, but there are very few, if any, places where IT can say it owns a business process. In any case, having IT define a business process would be like the tail–albeit a big and powerful tail–wagging the dog. IT should always support a given process, not define it.
That is why it is so important for IT to work with business process owners to integrate data governance and data quality processes into each step of the business process itself from the beginning. For example, consider a generic sales process. The first step might be signing a contract.
At that point, there must be data governance rules that define the term, customer. If several people in an organization are involved with closing deals, who the sales person is must be defined; who the sales support person is must be defined, and so on.
The next step might be determining the necessary contact and identity information. Do you require the legal name of the company, or if the company is doing business under a different name, is that acceptable? What if the company has subsidiaries in different countries doing business under different names? Though perhaps small, these are not trivial questions. The rules established and the information provided will help determine the quality of the data used in an array of downstream processes.
Organizations are organic, so business processes are constantly being engineered and reengineered. Data quality considerations should play a central role in those efforts.