IT Management Conference
Tony Fisher, President & CEO of DataFlux

Tony Fisher

President & CEO of DataFlux

Tony Fisher joined DataFlux as president and CEO in 2000. In his years at DataFlux, he has guided the company through tremendous growth as DataFlux became a market-leading provider of data quality and data integration solutions.

Tony is also a featured speaker and author about emerging trends in data quality, data integration and master data management as well as how better data management leads to business optimization. Prior to DataFlux, he was the technology director at SAS. Tony is a native of North Carolina and earned a degree in computer science and mathematics from Duke University.


Why Can’t We Be Friends? Data Stewardship for IT-Business Mediation

Is data quality a business or IT problem? The debate has raged on for years.

Proponents of IT data management argue that only technology-savvy overseers are capable of handling customer, product and master data. Some IT executives themselves, however, will contend that they a) don’t have time to manage an entire company’s data, and b) shouldn’t have to clean up the business side’s messes.

Business executives are often eager to take control because data is essential to their day-to-day operations (and not necessarily so important for IT.) These staff members can be frustrated that another department is pulling the strings on how quickly data can be integrated, cleaned and amalgamated to provide reporting and analysis. Nonetheless, the business side has a problem, too. They can’t single-handedly manage enterprise-wide data, which can lead to a fragmented, confused view of the organization.

A better path to data success is when the IT and business sides are both responsible for ensuring data quality. If IT and business haven’t been working together in the past, the best option to kick start teamwork is to bring in a referee. A referee, in this case, is known as a “data steward.”

Data stewards are people trained to exclusively handle the middle ground between IT and business; they are technically knowledgeable individuals who understand the corporate goals for the department, division or enterprise. The role of a data steward is to govern customer, product, supplier and metadata across various silos, back-end and front-end systems and departments. They are a solution to the IT vs. business debate because they are neutral and can see both sides of the equations.

Conflicts in communication between IT and business departments will only be resolved if a data steward understands what both sides are aiming for and makes a constituted effort to appeal to them on an equal level. In this presentation, Tony Fisher of DataFlux will discuss what factors companies should keep in mind when hiring a data steward to keep data high-quality and universally usable, including:
• Why good stewards have “dotted line” experience with both business and IT
• Why stewards need to be great actors, not just number-crunchers
• Why executive support is critical to the success of any data stewardship program