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Downstream Users Need to be Made Aware of Upcoming Data Management Changes, Warns Deutsche Bank’s Walker

Getting buy in from senior management and understanding from those at the grassroots level with regards to tackling data management challenges has become much easier as a result of the current industry focus on data, said Shannon Walker, IT architect at Deutsche Bank, to delegates to yesterday’s TSAM event in London. However, she warned that firms must involve those in the “middle”, namely end users from the business side, in data management projects in order to ensure they are on board with the changes and that the overall project is a success.

Building consensus for the launch of a data management project is easier from the grassroots level of those that have to deal with the data on a daily basis because they appreciate the challenges involved, said Walker. Senior management is also more aware than ever before of the threat posed by faulty data as a result of intense regulatory scrutiny of this space. “Those in the middle, however, are not so happy to move from the current status quo and you may struggle to get buy in from those not directly exposed to the data management challenges,” she warned. “This is why you need to set metrics in place to demonstrate the successes that are being achieved and the weaknesses that remain.”

This argument is not a new one and has been a recurring subject of discussion at reference data management events over the last five years. Communication is therefore key in guaranteeing the success of a data management project, be that between data managers and the C-level, or data stewards and end users.

There is still a level of under-appreciation about the behind the scenes work that goes on to guarantee data quality, said Walker, but this is changing. Data managers need to be smart about choosing metrics to demonstrate the cost saving benefits of projects in order to get buy in at all levels. “This could involve proving a reduction in time to market for new products or in the ability to service end clients better by spending their money more appropriately,” she elaborated.

However, some aspects of fixing data management problems can be subjective, noted Walker, and this can make the process of justifying spend and getting buy in for a second phase more problematic.

Walker warned that care must also be taken if an asset manager opts to outsource data management altogether. “If you outsource a badly designed process then it will become even worse. You need to work on fixing the problems before you throw it over the wall,” she said.

Her overall recommendation was to view any data management endeavours as part of an overall programme rather than individual projects. “That way you follow the changes as they go along and realise that it is an ongoing endeavour that you can’t just walk away from,” she concluded.

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