Eyes on Data: Transforming Data Challenges into Real Progress

By John Bottega, President, EDM Council
Published on TDAN.com

In a world increasingly dominated by data, organizations are grappling with the need to effectively manage and harness this valuable asset. And with increased regulations and compliance, opportunities for innovation and AI, digital transformation initiatives, and data-driven decision-making, the demands for accurate, accessible, protected data are increasing exponentially. At the same time, the data management profession lacks a standards-based measurement and formal recognition for data management excellence. This is key to identify where organizations’ data management functions might be under-resourced or significantly behind peer organizations, where their staff might need development to increase their effectiveness, or how data management should be a strategic, ongoing business priority.

Recognizing these challenges, the EDM Council has partnered with its member firms — cross-industry and around the world — to develop and launch the groundbreaking Data Excellence Program. This visionary initiative is designed to set a new standard for measuring and acknowledging data management excellence globally, providing a roadmap for organizations committed to continuous improvement in the dynamic function of data management and advanced analytics….

Read the full article on TDAN.com

EDM Council Launches Data Excellence Program

New York, February 14, 2024 — The EDM Council has introduced the Data Excellence Program in response to the growing need for standardized measurement and recognition of data management excellence at the organizational level. EDM Council is the global trade association providing best practices, standards and education to advance data management and advanced analytics. This innovative initiative aims to acknowledge organizations that are dedicated to continuous improvement and excellence in data management, based on globally recognized best practices.

Despite the critical importance of data as a strategic asset for organizations, many are challenged to manage data effectively, efficiently and consistently. The Data Excellence Program supports organizations in developing a culture that demonstrates their commitment to data management as a strategic ongoing program, utilizing a best practice framework for measuring capability. Achieving various criteria earns industry recognition.

“The EDM Council is thrilled to launch the Data Excellence Program with our members, fostering a community of organizations dedicated to unlocking the full value of their data assets,” said John Bottega, President, EDM Council. “As organizations embark on this journey, they not only elevate their data management capabilities but also position themselves as leaders in data excellence.”

Key elements of the Data Excellence Program include:

  • Data Management Team Training and Certification based on the Data Management Capability Assessment Model (DCAM) framework
  • Independent Assessments and Capability Improvement Plans conducted with EDM Council Certified Partners
  • Recognition for Achievement
  • Global Data Management Benchmark Repository

Founding members of the Data Excellence Program include both participating companies and Certified Partners, who are authorized by the EDM Council to support members in achieving the program criteria:

“We are honored to be one of the founders of the Data Excellence Program, the first-of-its-kind, global initiative acknowledging those organizations who are making an ongoing commitment to achieving best practices across their data functions,” said Ben Clinch, Head of Information Architecture, BT Group. “We are already seeing results, such as a team culture dedicated to delivering the highest quality and greatest value for our data assets.”

“One of Freddie Mac’s ongoing priorities is to be at the forefront of data excellence in our business practices,” said Aravind Jagannathan, Vice President and Single-Family Chief Data Officer for Freddie Mac. “As a founding member of the EDM Council’s Data Excellence Program, we look forward to meaningfully contributing to this area globally, and continuing to cultivate world-class data excellence in our Freddie Mac teams and throughout the industry.”

For more information about the Data Excellence Program, please visit the EDM Council website.

WatersTechnology: ‘Founder’ banks join EDM Council program to benchmark data management

The Data Excellence Program—the first to recognize data management at an enterprise level, rather than being an accreditation program for individuals—will help firms solidify data management as a program rather than a series of projects.

By Max Bowie, WatersTechnology

– Source: WatersTechnology.com
– Read the article as a PDF

A group of financial institutions, service providers and consulting firms have signed up to participate in a new data management program run by the EDM Council that will allow them to rate the quality of their data management practices, benchmark themselves against their peers, and create a roadmap to improve their data management over time.

The EDM Council’s new Data Excellence Program has just completed its first phase—dubbed its Founders phase—with a total of 16 participants, including the Depository Trust and Clearing Corp. (DTCC), Freddie Mac, KPMG, the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), Northern Trust, Northwest Bank, Raymond James, Standard Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., and T. Rowe Price, among others, along with specialist consulting firms as certified partners, including DataWise, Element22, Ortecha, and PWC.

Participation in the program is free of charge for EDM Council members, though they will need to pay the certified partners for their involvement, which involves them assessing each firm annually based on EDM Council’s Data Management Capability Model (DCAM) assessment framework for establishing a standardized and robust data management organization and procedures, and working with the participants to create a roadmap to implement changes and updates.

Officials say the program will address three core challenges to establishing sound data management practices: First, it’s hard to get support and funding for data management programs because data management may have never been properly defined within firms; second, it’s hard to measure the performance and status of data management programs for the same reason; and finally, it’s hard to get recognition for the successes that are achieved.

“There’s a gap in the market for a formal acknowledgement of data management at an organizational level,” says Kyle Morton, principal of data advisory firm Data Excellence Group and a senior advisor to the EDM Council. “There are plenty of certification programs at the individual level … but nothing that accurately defines EDM at an organizational level. The data world toils in anonymity.” It is also intended to help change how firms think about data management—from thinking about it in terms of “projects” and moving toward recognizing it as an ongoing “program.”

“Data management is not a project, but a program. Projects end; programs are ongoing. They are part of an organization’s DNA,” says John Bottega, president of the EDM Council. “Every firm wants to be seen as a data-driven organization, leveraging the latest technologies, but they don’t all make that commitment to data excellence. As advocates, we’re saying don’t forget this as a foundation of your programs. All new technologies are only as effective as the data that feeds them.”

To demonstrate how effective a firm’s data management program is, the EDM Council will award badges based on its maturity and comprehensiveness, starting at gold level, then platinum, and diamond for the highest achievers. Once the criteria for each level are finalized, firms would engage one of the certified partners to conduct an initial assessment, which will include what criteria are met, the depth of experience within an organization, and how widely it shares its data knowledge, and the blueprint it draws up with the certified partner to advance its data management practices.

“Quite a number of midsize firms don’t have proper data management programs in place—or what they have doesn’t provide all the capabilities that a firm needs,” says Predrag Dizdarevic, partner at Element22, a data management consultancy that has worked as a DCAM implementation partner with the EDM Council for years. “DCAM is the lighthouse that firms can aim for. When we do an assessment, the roadmap we develop with the firm is based on their business goals.”

Element22 also offers a cloud-based assessment and benchmarking platform, dubbed Pellustro, to perform DCAM assessments in complex environments, and is one of the first batch of certified partners to take part in the Data Excellence Program.

While the new “certified” status may not significantly change the nature or content of the assessments and planning work that Element22 does with financial firms, Dizdarevic believes it will help expand the consultancy’s business by exposing it to potential clients outside the capital markets. While the EDM Council began its work focusing on the financial sector, it has expanded in recent years to encompass data challenges facing other industries.

“The EDM Council has seen a significant influx of members from outside the financial services space. Our brand is well known within financial services, but not beyond it,” Dizdarevic says. “So, this will elevate the visibility and recognition of Element22. That’s the big benefit for us of being part of the program.”

“Data management is not a project, but a program. Projects end; programs are ongoing. They are part of an organization’s DNA” John Bottega, EDM Council.

Another benefit is that firms get an ongoing partner invested in their success and ensuring that they meet their goals, rather than a one-off consulting project, says Melanie Mecca, founder and CEO of data management consultancy DataWise, who was previously responsible for publishing the first Data Management Maturity Model (DMM) framework while serving as director of data management products and services at standards organization the CMMI Institute.

“I have more experience creating data management program roadmaps than anyone else on the planet. I give firms details, tactical input, and a roadmap of projects based on their specific situation to accelerate their data management program,” Mecca says. “The badge program requires a check-in, so I recommend that firms take the recommendations and their assessment, then after six months, monitor how much progress they’ve made.”

First steps

“We concluded our Founders’ phase at the end of last year with more than a dozen member firms and six certified partners. That gives us great encouragement that we’re in our target zone,” Morton says.

One of the members of that early adopter phase is South Africa-based Standard Bank, which joined the EDMC in 2020 in a bid to improve its data management practices, improve data literacy throughout the bank, and benchmark its data management against the rest of the industry, says Sibusiso Ngubeni, executive head of data and analytics at the bank.

Last year, the bank decided to adopt DCAM, and as part of that process, several of Ngubeni’s team members achieved DCAM accreditation. “In doing that assessment and making sure we promote training across the continent, we were unknowingly ticking some of the boxes of the EDMC Data Excellence program,” he says.

But the program is about more than just recognizing the efforts and expertise of data management staff. One aspect of the scoring system is that it recognizes how many people within a firm are trained and certified on data management principles.

DataWise’s Mecca says that spreading data knowledge and training broadly and widely across an organization is important. “Data management may be centralized, but data governance is federated through thousands of people throughout an organization,” she says.

When establishing a training program for an organization, Mecca begins with a presentation that’s open to all staff, before hosting training classes of up to 30 people at a time. Before starting, she speaks to as many people who touch the data as possible—from the chief data officer (CDO) to project heads, program managers both on the business side and the IT side, and heads of functions and business lines, such as risk management, credit, and customer accounts—to understand from all angles what a firm wants to do with its data and what are the obstacles to it doing so.

“I get everybody thinking like a CDO,” Mecca says.

For its part, Standard Bank has conducted most of its data training via internal change management town hall meetings and via committees. This process of involving as many staff as possible seems to have proved successful in promoting an understanding of data and enlisting support from across the business—not just focusing on data management professionals.

“There are plenty of certification programs at the individual level … but nothing that accurately defines EDM at an organizational level. The data world toils in anonymity.” – Kyle Morton, EDM Council

“What has been very interesting to see is the natural progression of the business side from asking ‘What do you do?’ to saying, ‘We understand that we need to do this.’ Suddenly, the penny drops, and what we do is being recognized and valued by the business,” Ngubeni says.

Once a firm achieves that breakthrough moment, as well as fulfilling the other requirements of the program, it means that its data is managed in a way that allows it to operate better as a business and respond faster to client needs. The bottom line is, good data helps firms make more money, faster, while bad data contributes to poor decisions, lost clients and lost revenues.

“It’s about making the right decisions to be able to respond and get to market quickly,” Ngubeni says. “For example, being able to offer clients the most favorable loan rates. If your data is accessible and timely, you can respond quickly, offer a loan at a favorable rate, and bank that client. Then, that opens doors to other business with them. One reason we haven’t been getting deals in the past is not having that data at our fingertips.”

Benchmarks and benefits

Standard Bank has just published its results to the EDM Council, and has asked for benchmark scores for firms around the world, so it can compare itself against other firms. Participating firms will report their results anonymously, which will result in the EDM Council creating a benchmark repository of scores from firms and industries around the world for others to compare themselves against.

That ability not only helps data management professionals measure and gain recognition for their efforts, but should help secure funding for future efforts, as well as demonstrate their achievements more widely—for example, showing off their credentials may help to attract potential employees. And demonstrating that a firm has shown an understanding of the value of their work may help firms lure data management expertise from others who don’t demonstrate the same level of commitment.

“It’s always a fight. It’s always a fight to secure funding, and always a fight to secure that as an ongoing program, not just a project,” Morton says. “If a person sees an organization where they don’t have to fight to get a commitment to data management, I think that’s a door-opener.”

In a data- and technology-driven industry, the people who govern and manage that infrastructure are just as—or arguably, more—important than the technology itself, so attracting the best staff doesn’t just make sure everything works properly; it tells customers that the bank is well-qualified to safeguard their assets.

“If this helps us build a little cache in the industry and bring in better and brighter talent, that’s an important achievement for us and our customers,” says Todd Henley, chief data governance and privacy officer at Warren, Pennsylvania-based Northwest Bank.

Northwest’s path to participating in the Data Excellence Program was different from Standard Bank’s but illustrates another important reason for implementing good data management practices. Henley, an experienced data management executive in other industry sectors outside finance, was hired in 2021 to establish a formal data management program at the bank on the recommendation of regulators, following a Matter Requiring Board Attention (MRBA) finding.

The program that Henley built established a “well-founded data governance framework” that—though not built with the EDM Council’s DCAM expressly in mind—aligns closely with the DCAM framework, which he says is a good way to build goodwill and establish standards for dealing with any regulatory issues that arise. In fact, following the bank’s most recent regulatory examination last month, Henley says the examiners told him that not only was the bank’s data program punching above its weight and light years ahead of far larger institutions—Northwest has around 2,500 staff in total—but was the best data governance program they had ever seen.

“If not for what we did in our DCAM assessment, I’m not sure we could have communicated so well to the examiners,” he says.

Once Northwest had its house in order, Henley realized that the progress it had made could be a valuable differentiator in winning business and customer confidence.

“We wanted to be able to present ourselves as thought leaders in this particular area as a way to improve Northwest’s brand,” he says. “We are the custodians of our customers’ financial resources—and part of that is about data: How can we provide the best service possible to customers? How are we managing risks associated with the data that we’re required to maintain as an organization?”

In an environment of ongoing data breaches, bank failures, and uncertainty over artificial intelligence and generative AI, the ability to demonstrate that the bank’s data—and that of its clients—is well-governed and well-guarded is an asset in itself.

Creating converts of the business

In addition, given the industry’s increased focus on artificial intelligence and generative AI over the past year, the Data Excellence Program could prove particularly timely because finance-specific AI models need to be trained on finance-specific datasets that must be high-quality, accurate, and well-managed.
“All of a sudden, everyone is talking about ChatGPT and genAI, and whether they can use it in-house. But then they find out there are hallucinations in the model—probably because you’re feeding it junk. Like everything else, if you put junk in, you get junk out,” Ngubeni says.

And with AI facing increased regulatory scrutiny, the ability to demonstrate strong data management processes should help firms address any unanticipated regulatory requirements and demonstrate to regulators that they have appropriate controls over their data.

“With additional legislation on the horizon about AI governance, we envision that if a firm is talking to an external auditor about AI and can say they’ve achieved one of these levels, it will be a huge benefit,” Bottega says.

Element22’s Dizdarevic also notes the potential for AI to drive greater focus on data management because it creates more data challenges. “AI is elevatingthe data requirements within firms. The challenge now is for data teams to get adequate budgets to elevate it,” he says. Being able to justify budget for specific requirements based on the measurable objectives of the Data Excellence Program is one of the benefits touted by the EDM Council of participation in the program.

“Quite a number of midsize firms don’t have proper data management programs in place—or what they have doesn’t provide all the capabilities that a firm needs.” – Predrag Dizdarevic, Element22

But while AI may yet prove to be a driver of adoption, one of the biggest changes that firms have experienced from participating in the Data Excellence Program is increased recognition—as well as more active involvement—of the business side in promoting the importance of data management.

“We’ve been able to convert business stakeholders into buying into this and wanting to be involved in drafting our roadmap. Until now, it’s always been a push, but now, people are contributing to it,” Ngubeni says.

And as more firms follow the lead of those like Standard Bank and Northwest Bank, perhaps the constant fighting for resources and recognition that prompted Morton and the EDMC to begin the Data Excellence Program will finally become less combative and more collaborative. The result can only prove beneficial to all sides.

 

New Data ROI Report: The Data Office Playbook v1.0

The EDM Council convened the Data Office ROI Working Group to develop comprehensive guidelines to help organizations navigate data challenges. The downloadable report discusses these challenges and recommended data management best practices for developing a return on investment (ROI) for the data office. The Data Office ROI Playbook v1.0 is the culmination of intense work by more than 125 cross-industry practitioners and interviews with 15 CDOs around the world over the course of 15 months.

Download Data Office ROI Report: Playbook v1.0

The Data Office ROI Playbook v1.0 consists of:
  • 7 steps, 28 plays and 4 actions that any organization can implement
  • Mappings of data ROI to DCAM (Data Management Capability Assessment Model), CDMC (Cloud Data Management Capabilities), and ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) frameworks from the EDM Council
  • 16 business cases and 19 case studies

Waters Technology: Putting a price on your head (of data): The ROI of a CDO

EDM Council In the News: Waters Technology

The chief data officer has become recognized as a key role in a financial firm’s ability to manage its data assets, and reduce costs and risk. So why is it also so notoriously short-lived?

Read more

Read the full article by Max Bowie, featuring EDM Council, the Data ROI project and working group, DCAM, CDMC and more in Waters Technology (subscription required).

YDC announces General Availability of YDC Data Economics Center

YDC just announced the General Availability of YDC Data Economics Center, with YDC Data Products allowing users to tie the value of their data initiatives to industry frameworks such as EDM Council’s Data Management Capability Assessment Model (DCAM) and Cloud Data Management Capabilities (CDMC).

Read the full story

EDM Council has released its 2023 Global Data Management Benchmark Report

EDM Council Benchmark Report Details Strategic Rise of Chief Data Officers 
Biennial study uncovers expanding role of the CDO and wider establishment of data management across industries worldwide

New York, NY, December 8, 2022 – EDM Council, the cross-industry trade association for data management, has released its 2023 Global Data Management Benchmark Report, indicating the importance of Chief Data Officers across industries and the growth of data management as a formal discipline within organizations.

The 2023 Benchmark Report’s data revealed the growing strategic significance of the Chief Data Officer role and the practice of data management, specifically that:

  • 65% of respondents stated their firm has formally appointed a Chief Data Officer or Chief Data Executive, up from 60% in 2020
  • 86% of finance industry CDOs now report to the C-Suite, increasing from 72% in 2020
  • 80% of Data Executives in non-financial markets report to the C-Suite, with 20% of those reporting directly to the CEO

“In my 30+ years as a data executive, the scope of responsibilities has expanded considerably, but especially so in the last few years,” said John Bottega, President, EDM Council. “This year’s Benchmark Report shows Data Executives, and the data management function as a whole, taking on a much greater strategic role as they help to define not only their firm’s data management vision but also their analytics, AI/ML, ESG and sustainability data direction.”

This fourth edition of the Benchmark Report saw a three-fold increase in overall participation, plus responses from more industries, with 58% of responses coming from non-financial companies, a 27% increase from the 2020 survey. The Benchmark studies use DCAM (Data Management Capability Assessment Model), which outlines best practices for data programs, as the framework to assess how the profession as a whole has progressed its data management program agenda.

Survey participants indicate that 80% have data governance programs in progress or already established. The Report also highlights the critical role of responsible, ethical management of the public’s data but the need for improvement, with only 62% of respondents indicating the establishment or progress of sustainable data analytic governance programs, although this has increased from 51% in 2020. The topic of data literacy as a crucial element of a strong data-driven culture is also represented in the analysis as a key factor of a firm’s overall success.

Download the Benchmark Report

About EDM Council
EDM Council is the global association created to elevate the practice of data management and analytics as a business and operational priority. The Council is the leading, global advocate for the development and implementation of data standards, best practices and comprehensive training and certification programs. With over 350 member global organizations from the Americas, EMEA and Asia, and over 15,000 data management professionals as members, EDM Council provides a venue for data professionals to interact, communicate, and collaborate on the challenges and advances in data management and analytics as critical organizational functions. For more, visit https://edmcouncil.org/.