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BI Stewardship
Part 2 - Process Stewardship: Third Side of the Same Coin

by Richard Blahunka, Product Manager , CBIPWednesday, February 23, 2011

In a previous article, “BI Stewardship: Part 1 – Data Stewardship and Information Stewardship: Both Sides of the Same Coin“, I discussed the topic of data stewardship and information stewardship – both acting in collaboration to achieve effective and efficient overall governance of information delivery.  In this article I am introducing a third key element into the stewardship mix – Process Stewardship.

The Data Steward, Information Steward, and Process Steward are all key members of the “Command and Control” team.  Data Stewardship is concerned with data-centric content - the building blocks of information and the beginning of the information delivery cycle; and Information Stewardship is concerned with information-centric derived content - the final output and the end of the information delivery cycle.  Process Stewardship is all inclusive and oversees all elements of the information delivery cycle - business requirements definition, business requirements analysis, solution design, project management, solution development, solution testing, solution deployment, systems operations, systems maintenance, systems governance, and systems performance management.

Oversight and Governance Diagram

Stewardship Alignment

The three key oversight and governance stewardship roles that have organizational authority and responsibility are Data Stewardship, Information Stewardship, and Process Stewardship.  The functions of these three complimentary roles can be thought of as being aligned in the following manner:

Process Stewardship Alignment

  • Governance of process definition
  • Governance of process proliferation
  • Governance of process maintenance
  • Governance of process improvement

 
Data Stewardship Alignment

  • Governance of data proliferation
  • Governance of data maintenance
  • Governance of meta-data proliferation
  • Governance of meta-data maintenance
  • Governance of (data-in) business-rules library proliferation
  • Governance of (data-in) business-rules library maintenance

Information Stewardship Alignment

  • Governance of (info-out) business-rules library proliferation
  • Governance of (info-out) business-rules library proliferation
  • Governance of report proliferation
  • Governance of report maintenance
  • Governance of analytics proliferation
  • Governance of analytics maintenance
  • Governance of forecast models proliferation
  • Governance of forecast models maintenance
  • Governance of dashboard proliferation
  • Governance of dashboard maintenance

Needless to say, these three stewardship functions do not operate independently in isolated silos.  They operate hand-in-hand to provide end-to-end seamless oversight and governance of all content: data, meta-data, business rules, information, and metrics; additionally, process stewardship also has oversight and governance of all the “moving parts” and functions within the information delivery infrastructure. 

Process Stewardship

Process Stewardship spans all aspects of the information delivery cycle; including:

  • project prioritization and scoping
  • requirements gathering
  • solution analysis and design
  • project management
  • application development and testing
  • deployment and production validation
  • post-deployment support
  • problem tracking
  • change control and management
  • configuration management. 

For example, specific processes govern the handling, prioritization and scheduling of new requests for additional reports, analytics, or dashboard metrics.  Similarly, specific processes govern the logging and handling of dashboard security and end-user identified problems. 

All of these processes fall under the domain of the Process Steward.  In addition to governing the definition, proliferation and maintenance of all processes, the Process Steward also has enforcement responsibilities and accountabilities to ensure that established and accepted processes are being followed.  Depending upon the culture of the organization, the level of authority that the Process Steward may have will vary.  At the very least, the Process Steward should monitor and report failures to adhere to established and accepted processes.  Optimally, the Process Steward should have organizational “teeth” to enforce process compliance and best practices. 

While the Process Steward is responsible for monitoring the adherence to established and accepted processes, the Process Stewart is also responsible for optimizing processes to ensure efficiency and effectiveness; in other words, continuous process improvement.  If a process is too cumbersome and largely ignored within the organization, then the Process Steward can be the advocate to take positive steps to reengineer obsolete or ineffective processes in order to streamline these inefficient processes.  Likewise, the Process Steward can recommend retiring any processes that no longer serve any practical purpose; this weeding-out of unnecessary processes helps keep the organization efficient and effective rather than being unnecessarily bureaucratic, or worse, dysfunctional. 

Synergies and Shared Responsibilities

The establishment of all three Stewardship roles has synergistic benefits to the organization providing complimentary perspectives on every issue, such as:

  • project definition and scoping
  • project management
  • team organization
  • defining roles and responsibilities
  • identifying span of control (responsible and accountable)
  • resource optimization

Shared responsibilities of the Data Stewardship, Information Stewardship, and Process Stewardship roles include: 

  • Master Data Management (MDM)
  • business rules library management
  • access and security
  • standards and conventions
  • data quality profiling, monitoring, and management
  • change control and management
  • governance
  • content organization and housekeeping
  • problem resolution
  • systems operations

Together, these three ‘Command and Control’ roles provide more cohesive and complete governance of all information deliverables – resulting in improved integration, accessibility, consistency, meaningfulness, usability, communication, enforcement, and greater overall information integrity and end-user satisfaction. 

Summary

Proper stewardship is vital to the short-term and long-term success of providing meaningful and actionable information delivery to the user community.  Process Stewardship supplements both Data and Information Stewardship to establish a complete, cohesive and overarching framework that defines processes and helps establish organizational structure that integrates, manages, prioritizes, delivers, measures, and optimizes the business value of enterprise information assets. 

  • the ends - getting the right data “in” and getting the right information “out”
  • the means - getting it done properly by doing the right things right. 

These three key stewardship roles provide interrelated perspectives on the governance challenges of any information delivery program, especially for metrics dashboard applications. 

About the Author

Richard Blahunka, CBIP, has over 20 years of business intelligence and analytics experience specializing in product management, project management, governance, and strategic thinking -- predominantly in Fortune 500 companies, including Lockheed Martin, FedEx, MCI, Entergy, SAS, and NCR -- within military, utility, airline, telecommunications, banking, manufacturing, and education industries. He is currently a contractor working on BI applications for the United States Navy based in New Orleans, and can be reached at richard.blahunka.ctr@navy.mil or rickblahunka@yahoo.com.   

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