Eric Naiburg's Blog

October 19, 2011

Another Year in Las Vegas for IOD

Another Year in Las Vegas for IOD


As I sit here getting ready to spend another year at IBM IOD in Las Vegas, I am reflecting a bit on the past year and how far we have come.  A year ago, we had just introduced our plans to move forward with the marketing push around Information Governance and today I look at the fact that we have run nearly 100 events around the world promoting it. That doesn’t include all of the customer engagements and 3rd party events either.  

Sunil Soares has released his second book titled:  “Selling Information Governance to the Business: Best Practices by Industry and Job Function” and it is available at  This book is a great compilation of case studies and experiences by industry in Sunil’s past few years along with several of his colleagues and provides the right amount of guidance needed to help driving Information Governance to the next level.

The Information Governance Community which Steve Adler started more than 6 years ago and has gone social and viral now tops 1850 members and is growing daily.  Steve will host a council meeting at IOD this year on Sunday and is expecting 100 of the members to be there in person.  

There will be a track focused on Information Governance as well.  It is filled with real companies talking about how they have rolled out Information Governance programs within their organizations and what it took to be successful.  Both Steve and Sunil will be speaking as well, talking about what they are seeing around the world and how organizations are progressing down this journey.  I too will be presenting several times throughout the week as I partner with St. Jude Medical on a presentation and Jim Lee, the Director for IBM InfoSphere Optim and IBM InfoSphere Guardium strategy and product line management to discuss how far we have come and where we are going.  I also look forward to my many customer and analyst meetings throughout the week along with one of my favorite parts:  Having my team all in one place to meet and spend time together.  Check out the IOD Roadmaps and specifically the Information Governance, Data Lifecycle, Security and Privacy sessions at  

So, looking back at the last year, it has been pretty remarkable.  Information Governance has become mainstream, analysts and customers have recognized it as such and IBM continues to lead the way.  Now we need to keep the momentum going, helping clients be successful in implementing Information Governance programs, helping them to better comply, secure, increase revenue and reduce costs by knowing more about their information and trusting it as they go forward.  Moving governance to new areas like Big Data and going from big companies to those that aren’t so big, but rely on information just as much to ensure success.



June 21, 2011

Information Governance and Big Data

Filed under: Big Data, Data Governance, Data Quality, Information Governance — Eric Naiburg @ 7:02 pm

Big Data is the latest talk of the town, but how can organizations be sure that they are doing the right things?  We certainly have an over abundance of data available to us and in many cases at our fingertips, but is it valuable? 

I agree that we need to now take advantage of all of this information and gain better value from it to help us make better decisions, but how.  When I think back to what my desk looked like in the mid 90’s during my days in sales at Brightwork Development (now part of McAfee) and Logic Works Inc. (founders of ERwin and now part of CA), it was covered in papers.  We had “bingo cards” from magazine leads, purchase order faxes, proposals to be faxed and lots of collateral to be mailed.  Now I walk around the office her in Westford and desks are clean.  Everything is online and electronic.  So how do we manage this change in medium?  It has been less than 20 years, but so dramatically different.

It isn’t just about change in how we deal with things however; it is how we get value from it.  Big Data technology like Hadoop and IBM InfoSphere Big Insights help us to make sense of the information available, but there is a lot more to it than that.  We need to put information governance practices in place to ensure that we are making the right decisions, keeping the right information and reporting on it correctly.  

We must first put policies and metrics in place to ensure that we have the right information for the right purposes.  For example, if I am looking at the different data feeds from places like Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and others about what customers are saying about my products, I need to be sure to filter out the competitors and analysts otherwise I may make decisions based on the wrong information.  This is an example of a policy that I put in place.  

Once I decide on the information I want to keep that is captured by these Big Data technologies I need to store it somewhere for further analytics. This is often done in a warehouse and my information governance processes must apply there as well.  I need to protect that information, ensure it is of the highest quality and manage it throughout its lifecycle including getting rid of the old.  If I am relying on the information to make decisions like many hospitals are beginning to do and that information is out of date, I may make the wrong decisions.  For example, we learn as time goes on and change our thinking and so does the medical community and its journals.  If I don’t have the latest article on a treatment in my system or have the old and the new confused, then I may make a potentially deadly decision.  With Big Data will come the need to have even tighter retention and deletion policies to ensure the latest and greatest information is available.

Lastly, if I am gathering all of this information and it may come from anywhere, it becomes a competitive advantage meaning I had better protect it.  I need to know who is accessing it, how it has changed, who is changing it and ensure that the information doesn’t slip into the wrong hands or it could become a competitive disadvantage.  

These were just a few of my initial thoughts when it comes to Big Data and Information Governance.  I plan on spending a lot of time in the coming months with people much smarter than I to discuss this further, understand what they are doing today and how they see this evolving in the future, so stay tuned for more.

March 28, 2011

Trust is an interesting word!

Filed under: Data Governance, Data Quality, Information Governance, Trust — Eric Naiburg @ 9:26 pm

When I think about trust, what does it mean?  Is trust a 100% absolute?  Can it ever by 100%?  If I look at the definition, it says:

Reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.

Reading more definitions and talking to others about this word “trust”, it isn’t about an absolute as most things cannot be, but about confidence.  Trust is having that confidence in another person, a company or some form of information correct and not intentionally deceptive.  

But what is trust when we start talking about information?  It isn’t just about the quality of the information.  Let’s think about data cleansing for just a moment.  We can clean data, but that alone may not make it trust worthy.  Was it cleaned properly, was the de-duplication for example done using the correct information or some form that was invalid?  To trust often requires the knowledge of where it comes from, because I may trust information from one source, but maybe not from another.  I also may not trust the information if I don’t know its history and that it wasn’t changed during some process.  

Because we are making so many decisions based on the information at hand, trust is a critical factor and not one that often exists today. We see banks holding onto millions of extra dollars because they don’t trust their information enough to manage risk properly and in accordance with Basel II.  We see companies putting accountant in rooms with spreadsheets for weeks at a time trying to close out quarters and years because they don’t trust the systems feeding them results.  At the end of the day, organizations are losing significant amounts of money because of a lack of trust.  

If the bank knew the information from their systems was generated properly, would that be enough, I don’t think so. They need to know who touched that data throughout the process, they need to know that the system that generated or maybe move the data through some ETL type process for example did it properly and they need to know that the resulting report was pulling the data from the right places, in a consistent matter and only then would they maybe have trust.  

So, what do we need to do to TRUST our information?  We already said that it isn’t just quality, but that certainly is 1 aspect of trust.  Here are some thoughts that I have and would love your input on others.

  1. Knowledge of where the information has come from (lineage)
  2. Common understand of meaning and semantic consistency
  3. Identification of who has touched it and potentially changed it
  4. What systems are moving and transforming it along with the potential risks of failure and bugs during manipulation
  5.  A “single version” of the information so that we can ensure that people aren’t getting differing views
  6. Control over how and where the information is disseminated because lack of that control can lead to issues with numbers 1, 2 & 5 and maybe others
  7. Ownership to have the trust be somebody’s responsibility
  8. Process and technology for cleansing to ensure that the information is clean

I know that there are more, but wanted to get these out there as a starting point to thinking.  Also, you notice that I put cleansing last and that was very much intentional.  Cleansing without the rest of these areas could lead to very clean, yet UNTRUSTED information.

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