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How to Get Data Lineage Right for Regulatory Compliance and Change

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Data lineage for regulatory compliance continues to be a challenge, with financial institutions citing problems including managing lineage across multiple systems and new and changing regulatory requirements during a recent A-Team Group webinar on tracking data lineage for regulatory compliance and change.

If these are the challenges, a poll of the webinar audience showed that the benefits of getting data lineage right go beyond avoiding the wrath of the regulator and can encompass a better understanding of data, improved operations and new business opportunities. Also, the ability to identify and shut down redundant systems to reduce costs.

The webinar was hosted by A-Team editor Sarah Underwood and joined by Mike Smith, head of data strategy, governance and privacy at Citi USCCM; Duncan Cooper, application specialist at Bloomberg PolarLake; Simon Hankinson, global financial services market lead at Collibra; and Sue Habas, vice president, strategic technologies at ASG Technologies.

The speakers discussed progress financial institutions have made on data lineage and the regulatory drivers behind its development. Cooper commented: “Regulations have always hinted at data lineage requirements, but BCBS 239 makes it front and centre as it requires more insight into, and investment in, data quality to ensure business decisions can be tracked.”

Adding to the data management challenges of data lineage noted above, Cooper described the need to consolidate all data in a standardised way so that it can be tracked and traced. Hankinson talked about tactical approaches and manual processes used to capture lineage at some firms, and suggested that when these issues are resolved, firms should consider first how to organise and maintain data lineage such that it is useful to the organisation. Looking at how to tackle the challenges, he said: “Firms have realised that documenting lineage, often in Excel, is neither efficient or sustainable. Best practice realises the value of data lineage to the business and makes it easy for consumers to find data.”

Considering a step-by-step approach to lineage, Habas explained: “The scope of data lineage has to be well defined and you need a blueprint of the systems landscape. You can then tackle selected applications. If you trace lineage backwards it is easier than tracing from source. Then, take an iterative approach and once lineage is complete don’t stop. Instead, take steps to industrialise the process.”

The webinar speakers moved on to discuss the capabilities to look for when choosing a data lineage provider and the relationships between lineage, governance and quality. Offering some final words of advice to data practitioners working on data lineage, Smith said: “Define where in the business data lineage needs to be understood, run an automated proof of concept against manual processes, and evaluate the outcomes. Aim to achieve small wins.”

Habas added: “Make sure you have a baseline, a before and after picture, and a good data strategy that will support quick wins and help you move through the challenges.”

Hankinson commented: “On its own, data lineage has a relatively low value. The opportunity is to improve the reliability of data for the business.” Cooper concluded: “Offer examples of how data lineage could help your firm make money and mitigate risk, then start with something small, but important, to the business and build out from there.”

Listen to the webinar to find out about:

  • Progress on data lineage
  • Regulatory requirements
  • Data Management challenges
  • Best practice approaches
  • Benefits beyond compliance
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