Modified by DataGovernor
A funny thing happened to me on the Long Island Expressway yesterday. I was driving from my home on Long Island to a meeting in Springfield, MA and got on the Expressway at Exit 36 at about 8:20am in the morning. My Navigation system showed the LIE was full of heavy traffic (orange and red on the map) up to the Clearview Expressway, which runs North South between the Throgs Neck Bridge and the Grand Central Parkway. My oh so clever NAV system advised me to exit the Expressway at Community Drive (Exit 34) and take Northern Blvd to the Bridge. The Exit already had a line of cars looking to get off, but I was in the far left lane and couldn't slide over in time to make the queue.
Next, my NAV voice asked me to get off at Little Neck Parkway (Exit 33), which also had an even longer line of cars backed up in the far right lane. Curiously, the Expressway was clear and moving briskly while the Exit ramp was bumper to bumper. I ignored the NAV and went ahead. At the Cross Island Expressway, which has a double Exit ramp, the cars were backed up a quarter of a mile, yet the Expressway was moving fast.
I looked into the windows of the cars waiting in the Exit queue and noticed they all had NAV systems. Maybe their NAV systems showed the Expressway was full of traffic and urged the drivers to exit and take the same detour over Northern Blvd. I chuckled and drove on at full speed to the Clearview Expressway and made it to the Throgs Neck Bridge with no traffic and wondered how all those data driven drivers were doing snarled in traffic lights on Northern Blvd.
And now I wonder what will happen more broadly when everyone is using the same analytical engines and tools to make the same decisions in their health, financial, and travel lives. Will it lead to overcrowding on exit ramps? Will automated Big Data Navigation produce over-conformist group-think in business? Or will some wild duck contrarians reap huge benefits by ignoring the detours taken by the masses?
What do you think?
Modified by DataGovernor
64 years ago, when my house was built the Long island Power Company installed electric meters in my basement. Two large grey metal meters are affixed to my foundation with insulated wires connecting them to my fuse box. They have a variety of dials and arrows beneath thick glass. I can see the meters but don't really understand what the numbers mean or how to read their information. Every other month or so, a polite person from the power company rings my bell to ask if they can come into my home and walk into my basement to read my meters and input the results into a handheld device that radios the information back to the power company.
The last time the meter reader was here I asked why the power company didn't trust me, the homeowner, to call in the numbers or input them in a form on the internet. She told me that many people don't understand the meters and if they do often lie to the power company about what they read to under-report their electricity usage. I asked why the power company couldn't read my meter remotely or why they couldn't measure how much elecricity my home was using.
Like, "don't THEY know that?" Nope. THEY don't, and the reason they don't has as much to say about how the electricity grid works as it does the way all complex modern industrial systems work and we in the Data Governance world can learn a lot from this.
The electricity grid was created as a downstream electrical production network. Upstream Power plants create electricity and send it downstream to factories and homes to be consumed. The power company did not build in mechanisms to measure how much electricity is being transmitted over the wires, how much is being consumed, and exactly by whom. Your monthly electrical bill is not based on your actual electricty usage. Its based on estimates of your useage based on your historical usage information. That is, the meters read your past and the power company forecasts your current usage and future performance based on that historical information.
The grid itself is run at 70% of electricity capacity to allow up to a 20% margin of error. If the lines carry over 90% of their rated capacity in aggregate, some lines could be running at 100% and therefore could overload and explode. And if some lines overload, capacity reroutes and burns up other lines, transformers, and sub-stations,. So the whole system is calibrated based on historical analytics. The power producers have no realtime understanding of how the electricity is used, in what quantity, when and where. And even the end users don't really understand where the electricity came from, how it was produced, or how the system actually functions.
In the Industrial Age, we human beings created many complex systems that function without many of the system participants understanding how the system works, and this is fine if we are all happy running our systems at 70% efficiency.
In enterprises today, we run our Data production and consumption systems with similar levels of complexity, performance, and ignorance. Most business users have no idea where the data came from, how it was produced, transmitted, and consumed. Conversely, most, if not all, Data Governance professionals have no idea how business people collect and use information to generate value. And this grid was created without any meters to read data volume, velocity, veracity, and utility.
Councils, Stewards, Policies, and Standards will improve human communication about the importance of data in an enterprise, but they won't change human behavior over time without new Data Governance "Smart Meters" that measure and report how data was created, who refined it, how it was transmitted, aggregated, repurposed, criticized, commented, stuffed in envelopes, posted in trades, hedged in inventory, reserved against premium, debated in legislation, trademarked, copyrighted, patented, packaged, and a million other uses and abuses. Until we can demonstrate a clean line between creation and use, Data Governance will be two steps forward and two steps back over and over again, generation after generation.
We need meters and readers and a new Information Age infrastructure that tells us, intelligently, what we are doing, why and when we are doing it. It should connect maintenance to operations, front office to back, middle to board, outside to in. We don't know enough today to tell regulators what we know and until we do we won't be able to close the gap between our forecasted capacity, current and optimal states.
The Information Governance Community is running a landmark Survey on the Cost of Data Quality and the #1 answer to all of the questions is "I don't know." Data Governance Professionals don't know how poor Data Quality effects Business Outcomes because they don't measure that. After Lehmen Brothers disintegrated in 2008, and the global financial meltdown spun out of control, the number one question from the public was "Didn't they know this would happen?"
No. No one knew then. No one knows now. And on one will ever know until we build more intelligent systems that connect Information Production to Consumption and measure the gaps every step of the way. This last recession has demonstrated that we are reaching the limits of our unintelligent Industrial Age networks and systems and its time for a major upgrade.
I am a relative newcomer to System Dynamics. I first learned about systems thinking from Helmut Wilke, german professor who wrote a book called Smart Governance, which talked about systems of governance and their influences on society. I met Professor Wilke in Cologne in 2007 and was so impressed with his ideas I used his book in a course was teaching with Christa Menke-Suedbeck at the Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany.
A few years later, a colleauge introduced me to some work IBM did with the City of Portland to build a very large SD Simulation enabling urban planners to understand how even the smallest policy changes had ripple effects across many municipal departments, neighborhoods, families, and individuals. We created that simulation using VenSim and Forio, and I was immediately captivated by the potential to model and simulate the impact of policy on complex environments.
IBM Smarter Cities SD Demo
For over 15 years, I've been an inventor and market builder at IBM. In 1996, I invented Internet Insurance, persuading AIG, Reliance National, Chubb, Codan, and other insurers to invest in developing interent exposure coverage products and underwriting capabilities so that businesses could depend on insurance coverage as they expanded commercial operations online. In 2001, I led a team of IBMers to create the Enterprise Privacy Architecture, which is a patented methodology for embedding privacy policies and obligations into business processes. In 2004, I founded IBM's Data Governance Council and led an international group of 60 companies to create the Data Governance Maturity Model, a vast piece of commonly developed IP that benchmarks Data Governance behaviors across 11 categories and 5 levels of maturity. In 2009, I hosted a series of roundtable forums with large banks, the SEC and the Federal Reserve as we explored the causes and effects of the Credit Crisis and what new standards in risk calculation and expression could be developed to mitigate future crises. And in 2010, I created the Information Governance Community to publish the Maturity Model under an open source license and invite a global community to work with IBM, the Data Governance Council, and many new leaders in developing a larger market for Information Governance and a new leadership role called the Chief Data Officer.
I love building markets through international collaboration and this is why I have urged and lobbied iseeSystems, Ventana, Forio, Anylogic, IBM, and the SD Society to embrace an open standards process at OASIS. SD is a complex discipline that is hard to learn and hard to use. It has grown in episodes over the past 50 years but it has never really broken out of its strong academic foundations. At first, I thought I could help it grow through the Information Governance Community. In 2011, I held a series of informational webinars on SD, the City of Portland Project, some work Steve Peterson had done with urban violence in South Boston. Michael Bean from Forio.com gave us generous amounts of his time to educate our community in how SD works, how models are built, and how simulations can be used to test strategic ideas and transform organizations. Some of our community members built Data Governance models in Vensim and tested them online in Forio.
But widespread adoption eluded us. You can have great webinars with great content and discussions, but that doesn't mean everyone understands what you are talking about. I saw many of my members thinking about systems, but not in a dynamic SD way. They understood the words we used to mean different things and found the math content totally confusing. After six months of work, I had to admit my efforts at Community education were not succeeding.
Undeterred, I started talking about the need for SD Open Standards. In the IT world, Open Standards are a way to spread adoption among vendors because it lowers proprietary barriers to entry in new markets. It enables better software solutions, which end-users appreciate. And the process of Open Standards consideration and specification approval helps build market demand. As early as 2011, I saw clearly that SD lacked a robust IT vendor community. 5 or 6 small vendors providing software modeling tools was a niche market that was not growing.
In 2012, I met iseeSystems at the System Dynamics Conference in St. Gallen. My participation in the conference was very last minute. St. Gallen isn't close to anything in Switzerland and it was summer and I didn't want to travel. But boy am I glad I did. For three days, I saw incredibly thought-provoking transformational work in every industry all using a common SD methodology. I speak at many conferences throughout the world and you never see so many interesting presentations across so many diverse industries written in a common way.
I was blown away by the quality of the content but, sadly, equally depressed by the complete lack of business participation. The conference was run by academics for academics. I was the only representative from a large IT vendor. There were no banks, insurance companies, oil and gas, utilities, governments, or even big 4 consultants attending. The SD Society had a conference in 2011 in Washington DC, so I asked the organizers how many from the federal government had attended. The answer was hardly any. Why the heck not I asked. The answer was no one had thought to prioritize their participation as a target audience. The target audience was local universities.
If the purpose of the SD Society is to service the university marketplace with educational offerings and knowledge transfer, mission accomplished. If the purpose is to grow the industry and attract business audiences, current approaches are inadequate.
This is where OASIS comes in. Following St. Gallen, I went to work persuading my colleagues in IBM that an Open SD standard based on iseeSystems XMILE could help grow business demand for SD simulations. The open standards process would attract new ideas to SD and open the SD Society to new ideas as well. But it took a lot of persuading. I had to sell a vision internally that SD concepts could be used with Big Data analytics to illustrate policy options on complex ecosystems. I had to tell my colleagues that an open standard would allow IBM to embed SD vocabulary in other modeling tools such as Websphere Business Process Modeler, Rational Method Composer, and iLog. And I had to demonstrate that our investment would be modest, the risk small, and the potential payoff reasonable. It took me a year to find the sponsorship I needed to persuade our Standards Commitee to approve IBM"s sponsorship of the OASIS TC.
And that brings us to where we are today. We have a TC. We have a vision for XMILE. These are table stakes. A TC is a sales effort, and we must now expand our market of members to be global, business oriented, diverse, and inclusive. Over the next 24 months, we have to expand TC membership to 70. I'd like to see representation from North America, South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. I see my job on this Technical Committee is to help expand customer demand for SD solutions and build a far larger market than exists today.
We are not just building a technical standard. We are building a market and I will continue to engage my peers to expand the use of XMILE worldwide as we work to develop an Open Standard for System Dynamics at OASIS.
Modified by DataGovernor
We are growing again. Not as fast as we want, but our economies and companies are inexorably shifting from a deep recession where risk and cost ruled decisions to renewal, profit, and a hunger for growth.
Today, organizations around the world are looking for new products to sell into new markets. And everyone is sittng on untold Petabytes of hidden value in their data and information that can be turned into new Information Products. Everyone is used to buying Information Products every day in the form of newspapers, analytical reports, music, movies, smartphone apps, and cloud-based services. Old definitions of data and information, security and access, have prevented us from realizing that the vast inland sea of information we collect and process every day could have markets and customers beyond our borders who lack what we take for granted every day.
It its time to exploit this untapped resource, to develop new tools and methods to discover what we have, engage with new ecosystems of partners, suppliers, and customers, and provide Information Products that inspire internal and external innovation, creativity, and growth.
It is the mission of the IBM Information Strategy Council to define the role of Information Strategy and to bring mature Information Product Management and Market Development tools and practices that help its members build and reap new market for Information Products and Services. The Council will encompass past and current practices of Data and Content Management, Governance, Security and Privacy, Open and Linked Data, Big Data, Analytics and Semantics. It will add Social Networking and Crowdsourcing, Cloud and Mobile, Product Management and Sales.
The Council will look at these functions from a business perspective, with the goal of creating strategic tools, assets, and methods for bringing high quality Information Products and Services to global and national markets that delight customers and drive new revenue and growth.
This Council will be open to members of the Information Governance Community and will meet for the first time in late September. This is one of the most exciting topics in a new industry all of us can have a hand in creating. Im looking for global participation from thought leaders, business practitioners, and pragmatic strategists.
If this Council interests you and you would like to join, please send me a note with the following:
1. Why you want to join
2. What Information Products you are or would like to sell from you organization
3. What you expect the Council to deliver that would benefit your organization
4. What you can contribute to deliver those benefits.
Upon invitation, I will send an IBM Information Strategy Council Agreement for you to countersign. Please feel free to write to me with any questions or comments. I am looking forward to your feedback.
This is the right topic at the right time and working together, we can do great things!
On May 6th, I delivered a presentation, entitled "The Six Steps to Building an Information Strategy," at the ISACA ASEAN Confernece in Singapore. A copy of my presentation can be seen here:
An outline of the topics covered:
1. The world is emerging from recession
2. Growth is on everyone's minds again
3. Information is an hidden asset with enormous potential
4. Now is the time to turn those assets into Information Products
5. To do so, you need to develop an Information Strategy
6. Understand the 5 major schools of thought around Information:
7. Use these Six Steps to build Information Products that generate real revenue
- Discovery Your Data with Semantic Search
- Tag it with Boundaries and Obligations
- Use your crowd to find issues and opportunities
- Make your Council reward innovation
- Develop Information Product Management as an operational discipline
- Think ecosystems and distributed value chains
8. There is a vast new industry of Information Products that is already generating huge value
Are you read?
Let me tell you about the automated future of American manufacturing and distribution that will soon displace millions of jobs:
In Norfolk Virginia, the automated shipping port uses remote controlled cranes with GPS, cameras, and computers to allow two operators in a room to move containers off docked ships onto railbeds without a human being touching the container.
In California, Governor Jerry Brown just signed a Google sponsored bill that allows driverless cars and trucks to navigate roads and similar bills have been passed in Nevada and Florida. Across the country, 18-wheelers deliver tons of cargo to manufacturers, distribution centers, and retail outlets. The drivers often flaunt regulations requiring no more than 8-hour shifts and there are tractor-trailor accidents across the country that attest to how long hours behind the wheel result in errors. Just imagine how efficient and safe our roads might be with driverless tractor-trailers and other delivery vehicles running 24-hour shifts with no driver fatigue.
In distribution centers across the country, small and powerful orange robots move vast stacks of goods throughout a warehouse with only an operator at a terminal moving a mouse to deliver a palette from Area DD to the loading zone where a driverless delivery van waits to scoot the products to Best Buy, where robots wait to off-load the materials and put them on the sales floor where NFC terminals will allow any shopper to pick up a product, touch their credit card and walk out the door without a human being touching the product since it landed at port.
This is the future of American product shipping, distribution, and retail. It is automated, efficient, inexpensive, and nearly jobless. It runs 24/7 without health insurance, pension benefits, withholding taxes, sick days, or vacation. The sophistication of robots and automation is going to sweep through the economy, leaving millions of unskilled workers permanently out of work. Economists will talk about structural dislocations, the need for job-retraining, and transitions. But the jobs will be lost nonetheless and the consequences for American social tension, income inequality, and poverty will be profound.
We are moving inexorably towards a knowledge economy in which large-scale manual labor will be replaced by automation. At a time when college education costs are skyrocketing and public subsidies are shrinking, when political parties are polarized and the nation lacks consensus on just about every topic, its hard to imagine a nation less well prepared for the jobless future of unskilled citizens.
I am a photographer. Wherever I go in the world, my camera comes with me and after my work day is over I use the camera as a creative outlet. Capturing how light falls in the world around us is for me a way to express myself and create art, to be an artist in addition to an IT professional, husband, father, friend.
Unfortunately for me I am also a Linux user and thus my options for post-production photography management are extremely limited. There are some open source tools which have promise but as yet are more limited than my needs. Most photographers use Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, but neither of these tools as yet runs in Linux. Fortunately, there is one program, called Bibble 5, that is in many ways just as good the Adobe tools and it runs in Linux. I had been using Bibble 5 for a couple of years when Corel decided to acquire Bibble and its developers in January 2012. Bibble had been developed by a group of 5-6 very skilled developers who created a wonderful tool. They were like open source developers - open, available, interactive, and proactive about communication. They maintained blogs, hosted forums, answered emails, and were extremely responsive to bug reports, customer needs, and new ideas. They created a 3rd party plugin model for their software and had an enthusiastic ISV developer ecosystem that provided awesome additional tools for their tool.
The Corel acquisition was warmly welcomed by the Bibble customer and ISV community and Corel won immediate good will by quickly releasing a new version of the product, now called Aftershot Pro (ASP), in February, just two months after the close of the acquisition. The new version had the same power as Bibble, but with a nicer interface, some new tools, and additional camera support. However, Corel was not quick to migrate the communication tools that Bibble had effectively used to maintain customer loyalty.
They had a different communication culture.They talked to us when they had new product versions to announce, other tools to sell us, and otherwise nothing - silence. The user community, used to vibrant interactions amongst themselves to solve problems and trade advice, setup their own user forum. On the Forum, users posted general discussions about their uses of the product, posted bugs and improvement suggestions, posted and tested plugins, and discussed photography in general. Corel set up a Facebook page to promote their software, and users gratefully posted photography examples from using Aftershot. A small point release was announced and shipped in May, and it seemed that the product would become a real Adobe competitor for the Linux world.
Over the summer, one of the plugin developers learned that all of the former Bibble developers had been terminated by Corel. This information was posted in the ASP Forum and it caused immediate alarm among users. The Bibble developers were extremely popular among end-users and their termination was seen as an ominous sign of cost-cutting at Corel that would have dire consequences on the future of the product. Some users expressed their fears that the Linux version of ASP would soon be discontinued. Others analyzed past Corel acquisitions and noted historical declines in innovation that followed similar terminations of acquired development teams. Others fumed about outsourcing in general and discussed fears that new developers would not understand customer needs.
This conversation devolved over the summer. In August, one customer started a thread called "Goodbye ASP," and discussed the features he was missing and why he would move to another product. Another customer started a thread called, "What are you switching to?," where many of us discussed competing open source products and running Adobe in virtual machines. The fear and anger in these thread accelerated in September, and more customers started threads bashing the ASP product and the lack of innovation, new camera and lens support. One thread invited users to post photos with unattractive artifacts created by ASP, illustrating how the product ruined photos. Another thread helped users to transition to competing products, with tips to migrate photo catalogs. Soon, plugin developers started posting on the forums of competitors discussing their projects to port their plugins.
You can see this conversation here: http://forum.corel.com/EN/viewforum.php?f=90
All the while, over three months of rising rumors, customer fear and anger, Corel was absolutely silent. Customers posted threads asking Corel to comment on the Bibble terminations and product improvement plants. No answer.
The damage that was done to this company's reputation is enormous. I am a customer who has already learned to use other tools to process my photos. Hundreds of other current customers have been turned into vocal antagonists. Corel has lost customer trust and goodwill not 10 months after spending millions of dollars to acquire a terrific product and its loyal customer base.
For all we know, Corel is working on a terrific upgrade that will soon ship and do amazing things for us. But I can say clearly that few existing customers will recommend it because the company has demonstrated complete ignorance of customer communication.
What should they be doing and what can they do now to change the situation? Corel should be using Big Data to analyze social media feeds from their user forums, Facebook, and Twitter. They should be looking for negative feedback and they should respond immediately with information and re-assurances. Companies build sophisticated call-center applications to answer questions from customers when they proactively call. They need to build similar systems to read customer sentiments when passively when they discuss the product and other products online. This is extremely valuable information that must be captured, analyzed, and used proactively every day. There is lots of information about product features and customer needs from other product forums that are also important. Comanies today need to be seen as responsive, sensitive, and caring. They need to behave like open source communities, sharing bugs, discussing features, and working with their user base as an extended community of experts and product architects who know their product as well as the developers.
Companies who do not integrate user base communications and social media transparently into their customer service solutions via big data won't long have customers to serve.
Take my advice. Learn from Corel's mistakes. You don't want users complaining like this without company communication:
more than one month since the beginning of the crisis and
still no news from COREL. The post on facebook seems to be just words
and only words but actually no real fact were shown. No a single beta,
not a single concrete action were presented to the customer (for all of
the customer, the corel one let'say the new comers and the ""old""
former customer of Bibble)
I am really considering to switch
now. I was a customer of Bibble 4, then I went to Bibble 5, with its pro
and cons but at least I was happy with this SW, and its community, its
evolution, and its third party plugins. Today it s only rumours, there
is no evolution, the old users are leaving, the company seems be
completely static, and thirds parties developers are loosing complete
interest into the product.
I don't want to waste more time in a
software which goes nowhere, where there is absolutely no concrete plan
for the future, and might disappear from one day to the other. As a
linux users I wonder if I should switch to a solution with a virtual
machine - that one will be dedicated to RAW processing, without any
internet access neither crazy anti-virus running on it...
- what are your experience: VirtualBox or Vmware ?
which software to put on the virtual machine ? lightroom, Capture one,
DXO ... ? I was still happy with the speed of ASP and its
responsiveness. I really want a solution which doesnt freezes every few
seconds before applying a change. Once again what are your experience
in this virtualized world ?
I know that there are still some
solution under linux, at least 2 : rawtherapee and darktable. But from
my point of view they are not yet ready.
- rawtherapee is quite
good in terms of rendering, but it s so slow that it become unusable for
a long and correct workflow. More there are some important features
for me which are missing, such as layer, region correction, grad filter,
black and white tools, catalogues ...
- darktable is a little bit
too young, it might become a solution. The quality output is still not
there, and the user interface is a bit unbelievable sometimes.
was a really happy user of bibble 4, an happy user of bibble 5. I
wished that ASP could have been a real alternative... That's the past, I
will not recommend this software as I could have done."
On September 20-21, IBM is hosting The Big Data Governance Summit at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelors Gulch in Vail, Colorado. Velocity, Volume, and Variety without Veracity creates Vulnerability.
This event is about Metadata, Stewardship, Security, Privacy, Data
Quality, and Big Data. We can reach to the skies, pull in petabytes of
relational tables, twitter feeds, video, audio, and documents, but its
all garbage in and garbage out without Data Governance.
knows this, and its our task to do something about it. We have to show
how it can be done – how anyone can build vibrant, dynamic, Big Data
Ecosystems that use common standards, ontologies, and methods to tag
huge volumes of data, index its value and context at high Velocity, and
search across its variety to discover trends with large clusters of
computational power that deliver high Veracity and low Vulnerability.
is the promise of Big Data Solutions, uniting disparate data sources
across our organizations, our cities, and our planet; leveraging data
sets based on purpose specification; searching for meaning and value
with brute force speed.
I can see this promise. Its within our
grasp. We can bridge our stovepipes of data and non-standard behaviors
into lean, mean, transformation machines that yield incredible insights
and informational power.
But this promise is only in reach with
Data Governance Solutions to provide metadata tagging, standards,
ontologies, purpose-based access protocols, audits, security &
privacy, data quality, discrete retention rules, and new tools and
technologies to automate how we do it.
The purpose of this event
is to explore how we can bring these ideas forward to help the world
adopt Big Data Ecosystems more rapidly, more successfully, more
We are meeting at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor's Gulch,
which is the wonderful venue where we first shared the IBM Data
Governance Council Maturity Model with the world in 2007. We will look
at real life examples of firms using Big Data, exploring ecosystems, and
developing standards to model and simulate them.
This meeting is hosted by the IBM Data Governance Council but it is open to all.
Join us as we move forward Big Data Governance.
This morning, General Motors announced that it would no longer advertise its cars on Facebook. This announcement comes a day before the Facebook IPO, and casts a shadow on the business model of Facebook. GM said that they will continue to support their page and user community on Facebook, but that ads just weren't effective in helping consumers to make car buying decisions. Ford jumped on this announcement to say they would continue to buy ads on Facebook and that Social Media requires a consistent commitment to innovation and community development.
Maybe. But I think GM's decisions does illustrate a key problem for Facebook and Twitter - the revenue model. Social Media grew up without dependencies on ad-based revenue. On Facebook, you aren't a customer. You are a product, and its your likes, dislikes, friends, photos, videos, and content that generate value. Selling products to products via advertising is hard. Members don't use Social Media to go shopping. There's no commerce platform there. They use it to be social. There are so many other outlets that are more effective for advertising than Social Media.
So how should Facebook and Twitter make money? My idea: make it collective. The value is in the data.
1. Make terms and conditions explicit that every member owns their own data via copyright. This does two positive things.
A. It indemnifies Facebook and Twitter for the crazy, infringing, and potentially libelous posts of their members by allowing them to claim that they are conduits of content rather than publishers or distributors.
B. Copyright establishes the rights to royalties for content created and posted on their networks, which enables the next step.
2. Allow members to opt-in to Big Data analysis by Social Media partners and intermediaries.
3. Charge Social Media for Big Data Searches by data volume.
4. Pay members royalties every time their data is used in Big Data Searches.
This simple model creates powerful incentives that transform user members from products into mutual social network content providers with an economic interest in posting content that will be used in Big Data searches. It establishes data property rights that insulate Facebook and Twitter from vouching for the content on their networks. Members will also discover that providing high quality data that companies want to search for means more royalties and so the system will produce better behaviors. And it creates a 2-tier royalty distribution model that will also pay Facebook and Twitter handsome revenue that will change online advertising and make every other content aggregater change too.
Of course, Facebook and Twitter will have to sort our who's a person and who's a bot, and will have to provide content creation tutorials to help users/customers create content that has value by sharing the top 100 Big Data queries and sample results.
But this Business Model has something for everyone and is a true win:win. It benefits customers by establishing data property rights and royalties for content. It benefits organizations who want to do Big Data searches by providing ever richer data streams of high quality and availability. And it benefits Facebook, Twitter, and their investors by providing an enormous profit making engine selling Data.
The Data is the Value. The more there is, the more valuable it becomes. Pay your customers to create higher quality data and charge your partners to use it. Its a simple Business Model.
Dick Costolo - @dickc - and Mark Zuckerberg - @finkd - are you listening?
I use Big Data every day. I don't have Hadoop, a Data Warehouse, ETL, or a big analytical engine. But I use search engines, which are indexes of web-pages from around the world, to discover related and unrelated facts. I use Twitter and Linkedin, which aggregate the ideas of millions of people, to understand the sentiments of the people I follow. And I make decisions, and mistakes, with this information every day.
We all do. And in that context, we are all Big Data users and abusers, and we can identify with larger enterprises that are also confronting vast streams of information from every corner of the globe, created by individuals, communities, corporations, and governments. We as individuals never had industrial data management applications. We never had Data Governance Councils, Stewards, or Data Management professionals. So we've been selecting data streams first and using the ultimate analytical engine - our brains - to integrate that information, glean trends, and make decisions.
What's new about Big Data is that large enterprises are copying the information processes that We The People use every day. They are selecting streams first, aggregating them second, determining application third, making decisions fourth. Judging consequences of decisions... later, if at all. Organizations around the world are deciding to retain information much longer because there is a belief that latent, slow developing, trends may lie dormant in that information that can be discovered much later.
But with vast volumes of information, long retention cycles, high velocity decision-making has the potential to do enormous damage as much as enormous good. And we know from experience, that decision-making is often influenced by cyclical trends, personal prejudice, and national dogma. Counter-Cyclical views can be marginalized. Whistle-blowers can be fired.
But Big Data also offers an historic opportunity for Data Management. This industry for too long has been seen as back-office archivists recording the deeds and attributes of heroic business leadership in dingy databases in large glass-house mainframes and data warehouses. They have taken back seats to application developers and business analysts who first and foremost collect the requirements of business users for new applications, features, and functions.
But Big Data changes all of that. It makes information sources and streams more important than applications, features, and functions. It changes the emphasis in value creation and puts the onus on Information Management to produce better sources and streams, easier aggregation and integration, manufacturing information products any user can leverage in any application they wish.
Its large enterprises automating the way We The People use online information every day, and the power and consequences of this paradigm shift are profound and potentially quite scary.
We need Information Governance over every part of Big Data to assure that organizations can answer these fundamental questions:
1. Can we trust our sources?
2. Do we know where they came from?
3. How do we verify the authenticity of the information?
4. Can we verify how the information will be used?
5. What decision options do we have?
6. What is the context for each decision?
7. Can we simulate the decisions and understand the consequences?
8. Will we record the consequences and use that information to improve our Big Data information gathering, context, analysis, and decision-making processes?
9. How will we protect all of our sources, our processes, and our decisions from theft and corruption?
This morning, the Information Governance Community began discussing these issues in a global teleconference moderated by IDC. We have just scratched the surface of these issues and have much more to discuss. We have agreed to create a new category - Big Data - in our Maturity Model to provide organizations with new methods to benchmark their Big Data Governance maturity. But we also agreed that our existing Maturity Model categories also apply and we need to update them to include Big Data issues and questions.
I believe this is critical work. Big Data is an enormous opportunity to make information the arbiter of value creation in the Information Age. But it is also an enormous risk because the same solutions can be used to make dangerous and destructive decision-making a high volume, high velocity science.
Every new technology can be used for both good and evil. Join the Information Governance Community to help ensure Big Data serves the best possible uses.
If you have a Data Governance program today you already know its easier to start one that do one. Real governing is not like a Hollywood movie. Its hard to know what's wrong, why its wrong, how to fix it, and how to get people to care or follow the fixes. And you have to do this every day and all the gurus tell you to get metrics and KPI's, build a framework and follow my process. But those gurus don't live your life, they don't work in your space, and they don't have to make tons of messy compromises to get things done.
But you do, and you know that Governance is tough stuff.
In the Data Governance Council, we know that too and we want to help. We helped build the market with the landmark work we did on the Maturity Model. That gave you a way of knowing that what your already know isn't enough. You could use it to help others realize it wasn't enough too. And that gave you a place to start your program.
Well, now that you are in the thick of it, we think there's a way to communicate how your organization really works - to simulate your environment so you can help folks learn what's going on, how stuff gets done, and what would happen if you made some changes. We know you do that anyway, all the time. But we want to help you do it in a safe test environment before you put your ideas into production.
We call this Predictive Governance - the SCIENCE of describing the world as it is to run simulations on how we'd like it to be. Normally, most folks do it the other way around... The simulate the way they think the world works so they can describe how they want it to be...
Now I could tell you all about how this new way of working is going to look, how its going to help you, and what its going to do. But its more powerful if you see it for yourself. What I'm sharing with you today is an early preview into the Predictive Governance Simulation we are building. Its not pretty or polished, but it works and you can play with it now.
Have a look and let us know what you think:
If you'd like to join the IBM Data Governance Council and help us do more with this, drop me a line.
Temporary Suspension of Disbelief.
What I'm going to tell you know may seem like a fairy tale, but I want you to calm down and listen carefully. The world we know now in 2012 will seem a distant memory by 2022. The Big Data we have today will seem quite small and quaint in 2022. Because on the horizon today we can already see the emergence of the future in which all business decisions will be simulated before committed to action.
Everything. Manufacturing, Pharmaceuticals, Government Programs. It will all be simulated in detail and richness that will be fun and immersive like the best 3D video games.
Spreadsheets will go the way of the Dodo bird - extinct. And everything we do in the real world will have a Data Model, and those models will form the basis of all value creation in the world. Let me give you a few examples of what I mean:
Today, manufacturing is a highly automated process that happens in discrete phases using raw materials, labor, machinery, large physical locations, logistics, and supply chains. Its possible to design a product in San Rafael, make a prototype in China, and go to mass production in Thailand, serving markets in North America in under six months. That's fast by historical standards for simple products like eReader binders, smartphone cases, and even decorative objects. But its also a highly energy intensive application. Product prototyping relies on remote manufacturing and postal services to transmit the prototype and design ideas, shipping to transport goods to market ports, rail and trucks to deliver to stores and customers.
But in the next decade, that long supply chain will be transformed by 3D Printing, which will enable intricate product manufacturing in every home. A 3D Printer uses lasers to fuse layers of metal, polymer, and other materials into highly intricate products in hours. You can create products in 3D Printers that are impossible to create in any other way. They can have moving parts and can be printed disassembled or assembled. And this capability will turn every home into a factory.
Need a new part for your washing machine? Print it. Want a cup with four spigots? Print it. Develop a new gas/diesel hybrid motor with a hydrogen battery backup? Print it.
In the future, online retailers like Amazon will sell vast catalogs of digital product designs that individuals create and license under copyright for local 3D Printing. Open-Source networks will share designs under Community License terms. And designers will create their own catalogs of digital assets that have astronomical value protected by patent. 3D Printers are available today for about $2000, and with one of those you can create polymer based products in about 3-8 hours depending on the complexity. By 2022, we will all be able to purchase 3D printers that can create new products with hundreds of intricate moving parts, layer by later, in under an hour. And a new supply chain of raw materials shipping, and recycling, will replace the goods delivery supply chain of today. Of course, you won't yet be able to print a car in your garage in a day, but you will be able to print a new steering wheel, brake pads, or chrome-plated exhaust for your 1949 Studebaker.
Of course, this assumes you can trust the data. Trusting sales data in a spreadsheet is one thing. But trusting design data in a brake pad that will or will not stop your car in an intersection is quite another form of trust. And 3D Printing won't just be used to print locally what we produce today. It will also be used to print things we can't produce today, things that are incredibly complex. And because in the beginning the cost of printing and risk of failure will be high, all designs will be simulated online before they are created.
The simulation environments will look like 3D First Person Shooters or MMORP Games like World of Warcraft, in which new product designs are created in data first and tested in simulation environments with live people acting in Avatar roles. These simulations will be created to mimic the complexities of the real world, and human beings will use them for everything. You won't buy any digital designs to print locally without a simulation certificate. And that brings us to our next area,
In 2022, we will look back at drug trial testing on rabbits, monkeys, and humans as being incredibly brutal and wasteful. Why would someone subject another living being to a painful experiment without first testing the drug or remedy in a bio-data simulation? In 2012, we can already see and describe our world at the atomic level. We can create memory arrays with just 12 atoms, and manipulate cells and molecules. By 2022, we will be able to simulate organic interactions at the sub-cell level. New drugs will be tested in 3D simulations of simple and complex organisms many times before they are ever tested on live beings. It will be far faster, cheaper, and easier to test new drug ideas on artificial environments with detail on par with real organisms than risking injury and death in live subjects.
Want to develop a new pesticide? Test it in a corn or wheat simulation, including the entire bio-ecosystem of a corn or wheat farm - insects, birds, people, wind, rain, earth and sky. All included. Test first in the computer, refine and retest, refine and retest. Then try outside. Its already possible to simulate some simple organisms, but this area will grow rapidly. And in the future new drugs and chemicals can be tested and developed in weeks and months instead of years or decades. Drug companies will store huge libraries of simulated drugs, environmental simulations, and the outcomes for audit and review. Labs will constantly compare simulation results to real drug trials to refine the simulations and learn from mistakes.
A program is a policy. That's neither a product nor a chemical. Its a set of rules designed to influence or change human behavior. Cut a tax and you subsidize a program. Write a new law, and you create a new restriction. Declare war, and who knows the outcome. In 2022, each of these decisions will be simulated in large online simulations with millions of people, miles of territory, buildings, cars, planes, trains, and all. There will be online simulations with people interacting as avatars (like Second Life), and anyone with an idea will be able to test policy assumptions on that population, changing the size and scale of democratic participation in ways we can't fully imagine today. No one will ever think about testing out a policy on the population without first testing it in a simulation.
Want to build a battleship? Simulate it. Want to put a Naval Simulation in the Pentagon? Simulate the design of the design. Want to audit the Federal Reserve? Simulate it.
Where are we today with simulations? We have some rudimentary vocabulary for taking complex human and machine interactions and reducing the complexity to simple simulations everyone can understand. Like a lot of things, the simulation industry has become popular by dumbing itself down and making its simulations consumable.
Where do we need to go? We need to develop new methods and vocabulary to capture human knowledge of complex ecosystems and transform that knowledge into equally complex simulations that convey understanding of the most feature-rich and intricate environments.
In 2012, we have Big Data. In 2022, the world will be Data-Driven. All physical goods will have a Data artifact, and many data artifacts will have no physical comparison. We will make no decision without a simulation. The simulations will look, feel, and be almost real. We will wade into them and out of them like walking into another room.
And what we think of today as big will get MUCH BIGGER. In 2022 the Future of Everything will be Simulation. We will Predict the Future before we Live It, and we will use Predictive Governance to make sure we can trust what we simulate.
Join the IBM Data Governance Council as we Simulate and Explore the Future: http://dgcouncil.eventbrite.com
Data Governance Programs are popping up all over the globe. It isn't hard to get one started anymore. But it is hard to be good at it and to make it last. In fact, I see more programs taking one step forward and two steps back – narrowing focus to demonstrate results – to fall in line with other IT projects than chart a clear path towards larger transformation.
But lets be clear – Data Governance is about Business Transformation. We can't change organizational behavior to take data seriously if we can't change how we work.
We in the Data Governance Council have a vision that Data Governance is a coordination of people collaborating on common goals and purposes – to use data as an asset. That vision requires that piecemeal project management of data issues must evolve into systemic governance structures and methods, whose goals and purposes themselves transcend the people, applications, and interactions.
Until last year, we didn't fully know how to close the gap between where we are today and where we'd all like to go. But today we see the way forward, and the Data Governance Council is embarking on a bold new program to develop Predictive Governance: systemic ways of describing our world and modeling potential interactions to understand what works and how to improve it.
Traditional scientific analysis says that to understand a problem you have to take apart the issue and decompose it into all its components and sub-components and find the root cause.
But this assumes there is always just one root cause and one thing to blame:
“Data Quality in our branch operations is atrocious, so we have to fix our incentive structure.”
“Our network was hacked and our customer data was exposed, so fire the CISO.”
Its almost irresistible to search for scapegoats to common problems using simple cause and effect analysis.
People rarely ever imagine that
Individual data quality problems are symptomatic of larger systemic challenges in the information supply chains we have created over decades to handle information flows from source to target;
and no CEO expects that network hacks are the result of systemic weaknesses in IT systems that are themselves a reflection of organizational culture and priorities.
Its hard to accept that people created the systems that enable Poor Data Quality, Global Jurisdictional Jungles, Metadata misunderstanding, Lax Security, Privacy Invasions, and Big Data Mischief. No one deliberately creates these problems. No one wants them to continue. But they do continue nonetheless because people really don't understand the elements and interdependencies of the systems they have created.
The point of Predictive Governance is that we work in large ecosystems and we must work to understand them. If we can't describe our ecosystems, we can't rise above the superstitions and organizational behaviors that constantly hold us back.
This event will explore the ideas and methods behind Predictive Governance, new Enterprise Data Governance Solutions that integrate multiple business and IT domains, and Internet Jurisdiction and Multi-Stakeholder Governance in the context of global regulatory confusion as an archetype of Predictive Governance Challenges.
These are big problems and we are working on big solutions.
See the agenda. Read our blogs. Understand our mission. Be prepared to interact.
This is a thought leadership forum for change. Join us and make a difference.
This event is open to all who wish to join the IBM Data Governance Council. Register to attend here: http://dgcouncil.eventbrite.com/
Does the European Union "promise to be true in good times and in bad,
in sickness and in health?" Will the Union survive the current Debt
Crisis and become more integrated or will it break apart under the
pressure and allow insolvent states to exit the common currency?
Can the United States maintain its high standard of living and reduce its debt burden at the same time?
may read these questions in the press every day and never believe they
have everything to do with Data Governance, but they very much do.
Governments make tactical decisions every day to increase debt amounts
by small fractions thinking that their incremental spending is nothing
in comparison to what others have done in the past - failing to see the
correlations between current consumption and long term systemic
With 7 billion people on the planet Earth, our
societies have become so complex it is impossible with past methods of
governance to foresee how policies impact even the smallest ecosystems.
So we rely on blunt cause and effect relationships to over-simplify our
options and fit our ideas into media soundbites. And the result is
non-correlated policies that are anything but smart or predictive.
seek to change this. We know that without new tools and techniques to
see beyond the next effect, every cause will yield policies that fail.
We are the IBM Data Governance Council and we see that Data is the raw
material of the Information Age and that effective Governance relies on
conceptual thinking, integrated approaches, correlated analysis, and a
relentless search for truth.
We call this Predictive Governance
and this meeting will explore what this means, how it works, and how we
as a Community can create predictive models that:
1. See the
Relationships between Data Quality and Security & Privacy and Data
Architecture and ILM and Metadata and Audit and Reporting and
Stewardship and Policy and Organizational Awareness and Business
Outcomes - the Forest and the Trees in our Information Ecosystems.
Model and Simmulate how new integrated policies, people and
technologies are available to Govern in these complex Ecosystems.
Understand and articulate these relationships to laymen who only see
the problems at hand and have no patience for larger integrated
Please join us for this important two day event.
Participation is open only to members of the IBM Data Governance
Council. Organizations wishing to join the Council may sign up for this
event and execute a Council Agreement in New York at the meeting.
I understand the moral outrage that Germans, French, and Dutch feel over the financial mess that Greek debt is causing in the EU, but their crisis-management policies have made the situation far worse than it had to be and it will be get even worse the next few years. I've written in the past how the lack of Data Governance in the EU allowed member states to accumulate national debt without verified reporting for the last decade. Greece was let into the Euro with only promises to reduce historic debt levels of 13% down to the treaty obligated 3%, but there were no audit controls or verified reporting requirements.
OK, that's the past.
This week, the NY Times reported that in 2009 the IMF presented a secret report to EU leaders disclosing that Greece had lied about its deficits for a decade. Why anyone was surprised by this is a mystery to me. Did the EU really expect Greece to change decades of post-war economic behavior once they were granted membership in the Euro? In my experience, behavior only changes when there is transparency and information illustrating deviations and consequences.
This was five months before Papendreou disclosed the amount of Greek debt to his nation and the world. But rather than deal with this issue quickly, EU leaders hid the report and delayed real action on the situation and instead forced Greece to accept crippling budget cuts that are now destroying that nation's economy.
Let me explain how this works. The world is in a serious global recession. In a recession, unemployment rises and incomes fall. Tax collection follows income. A nation needs GDP growth greater than 2% to increase employment beyond the rate of new workers entering the workforce. When people have less money, they spend less on consumption and the economy suffers. Normally, governments increase spending during these times to compensate for the lost consumer demand and that stimulus spending in turn increases tax revenues. But its normal to run a deficit during a recession because it takes a while for consumer demand to increase.
The EU is forcing Greece to cut government spending by 20%. Greece already has a reported unemployment rate of 16.3%. The Greek government should be deficit spending now to make up the gap and help bring people back to work. The Debt can be cut when the economy recovers and people are back at work. The labor market can be liberated, pensions can be reformed, and new audit standards can be enacted in a new EU Treaty to make sure that actual budget deficit numbers are part of the public record. All of this can be done over a decade when tax collections are rising and the government can ease changes into the economy in a non-destructive manner. This will save money for Greece and the EU.
The EU enforced budget actions are having the opposite effect, forcing the Greek economy to contract even further. This will in turn increase unemployment which will reduce tax collections and make the budget deficit worse.
As is normal for EU policy, the policies being enacted make worse the very thing they seek to avoid - Debt.
There is no silver lining. The Unity Government will preside over an historic reduction in living standards for everyone in Greece over the next decade.
This prescription will now be applied to Italy. Watch how the contagion creeps North.
Two years ago, I met Helmut Willke, the author of Smart Governance: Governing the Global Knowledge Society, at a hotel cafe near the great cathedral of Cologne. Professor
Willke is a sociologist who teaches Global Governance at the Zeppelin
University in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Late in 2009 I became
interested in Governance as a system of decision-making and Professor
Willke had written an excellent book exploring this topic. While the
Professor is German, he writes extremely well in English and his book
very well written and insightful. Like a lot of philosophical texts, it
is not an easy read. Dense descriptions, long sentences, and theory
backed by ample example make it a book you have to read at least twice
to fully comprehend.
I was in Cologne in late February 2010 to meet the CIO of the City and attend Rosenmontag at City Hall
. I had already seen several days of Karnival, with the endless parades, costumes
and candy strewn about the streets. For five or six days in February,
the staid and reserved city of Cologne becomes an endless drunken party
attracting visitors from all over the world who wear outrageous costumes
and march in parades on incredible floats and throw candy to the
bystanders. Its unlike any parade I have ever seen. Quite amazing.
It had snowed a lot that year. It was white from Brussels to Berlin,
and Cologne was still covered by eight inches. The square in front of
the Dom was clear, and I had spent the morning before our meeting
visiting the Roman museum across the square. Cologne is an ancient
Roman city and the ruins are collected in a fantastic museum right next
to the Dom. Of course there are columns and pediments, but also beautiful mosaic floors, jewellery, stained glass,
and decorative arts. There is a model of the Roman city and you can
see how the Germans built the city on the same street grid with walls
built on top of the Roman walls. Of course, much of this was destroyed
by allied bombs in WWII, but some remnants remain.
Looking back at Roman colonial rule of Cologne was an excellent
introduction to the systemic ideas of Governance Professor Willke and I
discussed over coffee that afternoon. He is not a tall man, mostly grey
late-50′s I would say, with bright blue eyes. He makes an immediate
impression, and is passionate about his book. I had used the book as
text for a class I taught at the Bucerius Law School on Data Governance
in Hamburg that January. My students did not entirely appreciate the
dense prose and abstract ideas, but through class conversation we did
ultimately appreciate the idea that Governance is a system of
decision-making that could be described and modelled. And we used
Social Networking metaphors to explore the idea of policy-making, human
behaviours in a system of Governance, and how to model potential
outcomes. Of course there is political science, which describes
political models of Governance – Democracy, Dictatorship, Monarchy, etc –
but what is unique and important about Professor Willke’s book is the
application of systems theory to Governance.
We had some coffee and talked mostly about how the Professor wrote
the book and why. As I had in 2007-8, the Professor had used the Global
Credit Crisis as a use case to describe failures in Governance. I had
covered this topic from a Data Governance perspective, arguing that
hundreds of incremental failures in business processes and data quality
had produced a domino effect that plunged the global economy into
Depression. He covered the topic from a decision-making perspective,
and while we approached this topic from different directions we arrived
at similar conclusions – policy-makers can’t possibly make the best
decisions without understanding the consequences of those decisions on
incredibly complex and interconnected global systems. And those
consequences are impossible to understand without new information
systems that render the complexity with software and illustrate how the
policies will be accepted and resisted.
In my class at Bucerius, my students complained that the Professor
had not done enough to provide solutions to the problems he had
identified, or that his solutions were too abstract. I presented these
criticisms to him at our meeting and he responded that it was not
possible to offer concrete solutions because every systemic problem
needs to be modelled to understand the variables and outcomes – that
there is no one size fits all. At the time, I thought this was a
dodge. It took me a few more years to understand that he was right.
There are no Governance Solutions that can auto-magically produce the
best outcomes for every decision. But it is possible for policy-makers
to use systems theory and software to construct decision-making models
that can plot many of the actors, objects, variables, and potential
outcomes to understand the impact of policies on complex systems made up
of hundreds, thousands, and even millions of human beings with unique
After my course, I synthesised concepts from the book with ideas from my students to create the Six Steps to Smart Governance.
It’s not meant to be a Framework. Frameworks and models are nice tools
to help people feel more secure about challenges they seek to overcome,
but they are not useful in making better decisions. The Six Steps are
meant to be a structure for decision-making that one would apply
iteratively; in which each of the six steps would involve different data
points and variables. Of course, it is highly summarised, flavoured
with marketing. And I would say in hindsight, its not really useful as a
practical or operational tool. It’s really just a theory, a
simplification of the better documented ideas Professor Willke writes
about in his book.
And I think we can do better. In the IBM Data Governance Council we
will soon begin to explore dynamic simulation models that go far beyond
the Six Steps to Smart Governance, and I recommend reading both the white paper and Professor Willke’s book:
Smart Governance: Governing the Global Knowledge Society
Today, thanks to really powerful simulation software, we can create
dynamic models that help demonstrate the impact of policy on people,
processes, and technology. The Data Governance Simulation Project will
revolutionise the field of Data Governance by applying theory, software,
and observed practices to an interactive model that will yield powerful
insights into Data Governance Value Creation and Risk Mitigation.
A lot of people ask me, “how do I show the value of metadata?” Some
say, “how do I make the business case for Data Governance?” Consultants
and Gurus will have a framework or process to offer you, a get started
guide with use-case examples, graphics, and legends about their
successes. But these myths won’t help you, because your challenges are
unique. Your politics are special, and your people are not machines.
Best practices are useful examples of glorified solutions that are very
hard to replicate outside the lab. And as many are already finding out,
people resist policies they don’t think apply to them and its really
tricky to understand how to change organisational behaviours on an
on-going basis without policies that dynamically change with new
Data Governance is, by nature, a systemic challenge and you can’t
solve systemic problems without systemic solutions. Projects and teams
that expect quick hits and 90-results are the reason you have systemic
Data Governance problems in the first place. But it is possible to
create software models that allow you to plot the goals, metrics,
policies, communications, outcomes, variables, and modifiers and
evaluate the impact of new policies and controls on your environment.
And that’s the lesson of Smart Governance: you can model complex
environments through Simulation and make better decisions. To learn
more about using Simulations to make better decisions, take a look at
the IBM Smarter Cities Demo.
In that demo, the complex interactions of human beings living in a city
are compared to the goals of human policies, the metrics measured by
interactions, and potential outcomes.
Many of our organisations are as complex as small cities. Policy and
Politics share the same ancient Greek root word – epolis. epolis is a
city, which itself is an aggregation of human beings who require
Governance to arbitrate their diverse interests and achieve better
outcomes for all. Today, we can simulate those interactions and help
Policy makers profile the impact of their policies before they are
deployed. Its a kind of Visual Risk Calculation.
If you would like to participate in the Data Governance Simulation
project, please read the Six Steps to Smart Governance White Paper, the book
by Professor Willke, and join the IBM Data Governance Council by executing this membership agreement.
Only members of the Council will be able to participate in this
exercise and you don’t want to miss this because it will fundamentally
change Data Governance.
The US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is celebrating its 45th Birthday this year. It was signed into law by Lyndon Johnson on July 4, 1966, and its goal was to provide Americans with the right to petition their government to release documents deemed in the public interest which might not otherwise ever see the light of day. Since FOIA was enacted, hundreds of thousands of public records have been released. However, the process is not easy. Requests must be made in writing, documents must be found and analysed by the government, and FOIA requests can often take many years to fulfil if the government has an interest in withholding the information.
All requested records are provided on paper because in 1966 that's all there was. Computers occupied huge glass rooms and were not used for document archival or retrieval. Today of course, huge amounts of data and documents are stored on computers and the process of document retrieval should be much faster. But the government doesn't really want to make it easier because that would make government accountability far more transparent and lets face it people on the inside don't like transparency.
But the opacity of information is damaging. It creates asymmetries that favour organisations and disadvantage individuals.
Examples. You go to your doctor when you are sick and they pull out a big file on you. If you see a specialist, the doctor forwards your file to them. Get surgery and that goes in the file too. How come doctors have your data but you don't get a copy by default?
Answer: the medical industry just hasn't worked that way in the past and giving up your data means they give up some control over you as a patient. If you had your own data, you could share it online anonymously and ask many other patients and practitioners around the world to offer you options that might help you deal with your illness and find a cure beyond the scope and capabilities of your local practitioners. That capability isn't in their interest as care providers, but is in your interest. Unfortunately, your health information isn't free to obtain, and the continued opacity of your own data hurts you.
Another example. Congress is being lobbied today to pass all kinds of new restrictions on copyright infringement. Websites may be taken down if infringement is alleged, and there's even a new bill proposed to make the streaming of copyright material illegal. Why is it that corporations get so much protection for their content but you and I enjoy almost none? Why can't we copyright our Personally Identifiable Information and force organisations to pay us to use it?
You don't have Information Freedom if you can't even control your own information.
Lets reform FOIA before we celebrate its 50th Anniversary and make the Freedom of Information a universal human right. Our government should be transparent, access to trusted information should be unhindered, cheap, and universal, and we as citizens and consumers should be able to exercise far more control over our own information as a fundamental right of freedom.
Not two months after I made this declaration at the IBM Data Governance Council Meeting at the US Embassy in Paris on April 14, 2011 (and wrote about it in a blog on May 11), the United Nations has published a report entitled "The Freedom of Information as an Internationally Protected Human Right."
I am honored that the UN read my blog and agrees. You can read the report here: Freedom of Information as a Human Right
Belief systems are very powerful. Robert Garigue, one of my early Data Governance mentors, liked to say that IT applications are belief systems and the more I work in Data Governance the more I realize that every human construct, model, or framework is a belief system with its own ego and rigidity that blinds adherents to alternatives that could be more efficient.
Two examples: one political, the other organizational.
Vermont is about to embark on a single-payer healthcare model as the governor will soon sign a bill that will make that small state the first in the nation with a European health insurance model. In the national healthcare debate, the idea of a single payer systems was vilified by conservative Republicans who charged it would yield socialized medicine with rationed care, long wait lines, and people dying before treatment arrived. Many of the same Republicans are warning that Vermont will suffer a similar fate because their expectations of healthcare are intrinsically linked to their ideology and their use of selective experience in Canada and the UK.
Two points on this. Single payer eliminates administrative redundancy, which saves money and provides more efficient insurance coverage. That's the principal reason for adopting this model. Efficient health care is another matter. You can have an efficient single payment insurance model and a free-market provider model that provides efficient care and you can also have free market models that provide inefficient undesireable outcomes. Models themselves create rigid boundaries that, in their absolute adherence, distort desired outcomes around inefficient incentive models. That is, no belief system is perfect and has a right to unbridled adoption. Conservatives today like to argue that the free market is a natural and organic model of human activity and regulation creates unnatural distortions. But in markets, all things are never equal and information asymmetries produce inefficient outcomes for many market participants. Regulation evens the playing field, even with those regulations have socialistic aspects. The same is true for liberals in Europe who insist that social models produce more egalitarian outcomes than capitalism. Not always...
The second example is from Denmark, where the health care system has been single payer for decades. Danes pay for healthcare through taxes and never pay for treatment at the doctor or hospital. This creates an efficient billing system, but unfortunately the uniform fee structure did not create incentives for superior service. Waiting lines were very long for even acute conditions. A friend had gaulstones in 1996 and was told, despite her acute pain, that her condition was not urgent and she had to wait some 12 weeks for an operation slot. She went to her doctor ever day to complain until he finally relented and gave her an operation date a week later. But the long waits were not because the system was single payer. They were due to a lack of incentives and penalties to induce doctors to work harder and provide better treatment. This was addressed in the early 2000's when the Danish parliament passed legislation that allowed any Dane waiting longer than three weeks for treatment at a public hospital to seek care at one of Denmark's many private hospitals with expenses covered by the public hospital who was unable to provide the care. Its a brilliant piece of free market regulation added to "socialized medicine," that created incentives to improve care in public hospitals.
The point here is that no belief system can handle every exingency. Human beings respond to many kinds of incentives and penalties, and large complex governance systems need Dynamic Steering to modulate the incentive structure to provide the most efficient services.
I was on the phone with a client seeking Data governance advice recently and she asked, "Many in the Data Governance Industry advise on having both technical and business data stewards who look after both policy and compliance. What is your view? Should these people reside in the business or in IT? What will happen to us if we don't follow the industry norm."
I told them, "don't follow the lemmings..." Most people "in the Industry" are consultants who have never governed their own tongue let alone a real company. They fly in and perform a powerpoint, run a workshop, and sell their latest wisdom as gospel, a framework or a model. They have a huge amount of ego invested in whatever model they are selling because it is their claim to fame. But models and frameworks don't work. They are too rigid, belief systems with believers held back by best practices and use cases summarized to the point of easy communication and factual irrelevance. Best practices are rarely transferable from one institution to another. They neglect all the politics, sponsorship, favoritism, self-doubt, and dunb-luck involved in getting anything accomplished. Every company is unique because companies are made up of people with unique personalities and belief systems.
Be dynamic. Don't follow models rigidly. Adapt to circumstances. If you have great data stewards who work well in the business units, wonderful. If you have others that are more technical and can't function at that level, no problem. Go with what you can get done and don't worry about model orthodoxy.
Ideology and belief systems, incentives and penalties, work best when varied. Focus on the business outcomes you want to achieve - like efficient payment processing AND efficient care provisioning - and experiment with different tools to achieve those outcomes. Get fixated on following one model and you will soon find yourself in a long line of Lemmings running off a cliff.
In Europe, there is a proposal to tax Google, Yahoo, Apple, and others on the content they provide that passes over European Telecommunications networks. The Europeans complain that their networks are over-burdened with content that comes from the USA that they deliver to their subscribers and they want a cut of the action. They claim that the cost of upgrading their bandwidth, especially in France, Spain, Italy, and Eastern Europe, to keep up with content is so overwhelming that the content providers themselves should pay for the inconvenience. France calls it the "Google Tax." I call it extortion and fraud. Its bad policy for Europe and its bad policy for the Internet. In France, even though French Telecom has been deregulated, Alcatel-Lucent estimates that it will cost over 300 billion euros to upgrade the French broadband infrastructure to enable high-speed internet access for every French citizen. Other European Telecoms, also former monopolies, agree. Someone has to pay for this, why not the Americans?
Its their doing anyway, this Internet...
In France, where the "Google Tax" has already passed it already hurts French content providers more than Google because their content is taxed too and they only serve the local French market. Google, meanwhile, has a global market and only a small fraction of their revenues are effected in France. You have to love the irony...
By now, American readers are no doubt feeling quite superior since we haven't done anything as legislatively dumb yet. Don't.
Legislative stupidity is not the monopolistic right of Europe. In the United States we have the Protect IP Bill introduced by Senators Patric Leahy and Orin Hatch. This Bill allows the US Attorney General to shut down websites that are alleged to provide copyrighted materials or counterfeit goods. Apparently, current copyright laws which require copyright holders to demonstrate infringement in a court of law are insufficient to protect IP rights in the United States. What the Protect IP Bill does is remove the inconvenience of due process and allow the US government or any IP holder to demand an injunction or restraining order from a court to shutdown a website without a court case. This Bill is bad on so many grounds. The definitions of copyright infringement and counterfeiting are very loose. The lack of due process means any aggrieved party can use injunctions to shut down competition or ideas it wants repressed. And one person's piracy is another's business model.
Many organizations are using piracy for viral marketing.
Lets face it, with 2 billion people on-line today, people are producing a
lot of content. Anyone can write a book, produce a video, record a
song, post a blog and almost everyone does. With all that content,
getting noticed is very hard. And that's changing the business models
of content production. Those changes are organic to the development of
Information and Society.
The Protect IP Bill, if passed, would make it possible for political interests to allege copyright infringement on their ideas and shutdown opposing party websites. It would empower ugly forms of censorship more at home in countries we'd rather rid of censorship than show new examples. It is a huge step backwards and is as pernicious and wrong-headed as the "Google Tax."
Government should keep its uninformed fingers the Heck out of that development. On both sides of the Atlantic, taxing and shutting down content should be seen as dictatorial remedies that will do far more harm than good.
We the Internet Generation want the Freedom of Information to connect the 5 billion people not yet online with information unfettered and uncontrolled to illuminate the world. The legislative examples above represent darkness and we should all reject and fight against them.
Since the 18th Century, Freedom of Expression has become enshrined in constitutions around the world as a Basic Human Right. It defines Democracy in its defense and Dictatorships in its assault. People like to control and don't like to be controlled, and the tension between controlling and being controlled requires this Human Right to be defended and re-defined every year. Sometimes, like during the McCarthy Era in the United States, the tide turns against Freedom. Other times, like in the Middle East today, the Freedom to speak changes the course of history.
But there is another Freedom not yet defended as a universal Human Right that should be and it is the Freedom of Information - the right to be informed, to learn. This right is implied by the Freedoms of Press and Speech, but it is not articulated explicitly as a constitutional right. Around the world, many nations have Freedom of Information Acts that require national and local governments to make information available to the public. Those acts were created when widespread access to information was rare. Libraries and archives were places where large amounts of information could be physically retrieved and governmental disclosure was paper-based. Universities and Governments were the largest aggregations of information, and they were the places you visited to get information.
But today, with the Internet, human beings have potential access to information without physical limits and it is that potential that must be enshrined in law as a basic human right. Every human being on the planet should have the right to access information freely and without threat of harm. Like Free Speech, that right should be defended even when the content of information accessed are heinous and injurious to some. Any society or nation without the Freedom of Information as a basic human right is a place that can be controlled and manipulated.
According to Human Rights Watch, there are 40 nations around the world that restrict access to the Internet or Social Networks. Many of these nations also block satellite TV and other forms of communication. But even in Western Democracies, Information Access is controlled by cost, technology barriers, labor protections, and secrecy laws. Even the most advanced nations have huge regions without access to the Internet. And some nations now seek to tax content flowing over the Internet as a means to restrict trade and favor local providers.
This is not a question of commercial competition. This is a question of human progress. Where there are people unable to access information freely there are opportunities for oppression and abuse. Democracy and Freedom will not thrive or survive without the Freedom of Information. To be ill-informed and speak freely is a condition of intellectual slavery.
I believe that we must work to assert the Freedom of Information as a basic Human Right. It must be a 21st Century Goal to connect every human being on the planet to high quality trusted information. There should be no technical, political, cultural, or economic barriers to Information.
It should be as easy as air and as cheap as water, taken for granted and governed by statute in every nation around the world.
On March 22-23, Information Governance Community Members will meet in Asheville, North Carolina to conduct a Maturity Model Workshop. We will use the Maturity Model to self-assess our capabilities. But if you can't make it to Asheville, join us on-line as we broadcast the Workshop live so you can participate
Information Governance Maturity Model Workshop:
USA Toll-Free: 888-426-6840
USA Caller Paid: 215-861-6239
South Africa Toll-Free 0800-983-687
Participant Code: 7888897
You can follow our progress on the phone, see the presentations in a webex, and perform your own Maturity Model Self-Assessment at www.infogovcommunity.com. Its a lot more fun doing it together with your peers.
There will be a webmeeting for this presentation:
1. Go to the URL - http://www.webdialogs.com
2. Click 'Join a Meeting' button in the top right corner of the page
3. Enter the Conference ID: 3208928
4. Enter your name and email address
5. Click the 'Log In' button
The moderators, times, and descriptions of each section follow.
Metadata: Amy Pfaff, TIAA-CREF
Self-Assessing Information Governance Maturity
Date: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 @ 2:30pm ET
Classification and Metadata is fundamental in any information related initiative. It is the connection between abstract data
(business processes, rules and concepts) and the people who use it to meet their goals and objectives. The Metadata Category
Reflects both the capabilities and tools surrounding metadata and the ease with which information can be used and understood.
Data Architecture: Tim Enten, Wells/Wachovia
Self-Assessing Information Governance Maturity
Date: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 @ 4:00pm ET
Data Architecture is the foundation of any solid data governance program. As an organization progresses through Data
Architecture a number of specific goals and benefits will be accomplished on an enterprise-wide basis:
1. Alignment between business and technology
2. Adherence to architecture standards
3. Data is viewed and leveraged as a common asset across the enterprise
Data Quality: Bill Haase, Logic Trends
Self-Assessing Information Governance Maturity
Date: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 @ 9:00am ET
As businesses move toward data-driven decision-making, Data Quality becomes paramount to the ability to succeed.
The improvements outlined in the transitional layers between each stage involve additional value creators to the core business.
As an organization matures through the levels, the following objectives become attainable:
* Enterprise measurement of the quality, classification, and value of the data being provided
* Data quality metrics become core to business processes
* Data issues are easily addressed via strong lineage and stewardship
* Data quality becomes integrated into organization's culture, business, and technology processes.
Organizational Structures and Awareness: Steven Adler, IBM
Self-Assessing Information Governance Maturity
Date: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 @ 11:30am ET
The objectives of organizational awareness around data governance are:
* Build a team approach to data architecture, stewardship, and self-governance across the enterprise including all business areas and IT.
* Define data architecture and stewardship roles, responsibilities, and interrelationships.
* Integrate Data Quality, Security, Privacy, Risk, and Value methodologies into repeatable assessments and processes
* Leverage Information, policies, and compliance to change organizational behavior
Tune in. Take part. Contribute and Learn with your peers. That's what our Community is all about.
To register, call 1-800-368-1157 or email email@example.com
IBM has been at the forefront of the Information Governance movement since the formation of the IBM Data Governance Council in early 2005. For the past six years we've worked closely with industry-leading companies from around the world to tackle the biggest challenges associated with governance.
Around the world, our clients are at varying stages of recognizing the necessity of Information Governance and implementing guidelines, standards, and policies. If your or others at your company have started conversations on this topic, then this event is for you!
We would like to invite you, and 2 of your colleagues who are information stakeholders in your company, to participate in a workshop that will help you build an effective information Governance program:
- Define your needs
- Benchmark your organizational maturity
- Define your organizational structures, methodologies, and tools
- Develop new insights and build a system for information Governance
In this hands-on workshop, participants will be taken through four of the Information Governance capabilities, and asked to rank their organizations according to maturity level defined in the Information Governance Maturity Model. All rankings are confidential and you can take home what you start and complete it later with your colleagues at your convenience.
Who should attend:
- CIO and senior IT Exectuvies
- Business Analysts and subject matter experts
- Executives involved in compliance and data protection
- Data or Information Stewards, Directors of Data Governance, and Data Architects
- Consultants and IBM Business Partners
The goal of this workshop is to educate and improve. Participants will meet other practitioners and gain valuable insights through comparative discussions of common challenges. New insights will be shared with the global information Governance Community, inspiring new ideas and topics.
I hope to see you there. IBM Information Governance Workshop
My aunt Helen had an opinion on everything. She was an information junkie long before the Internet, consuming at least three newspapers a day and watching untold hours of news television. If she didn't know about an issue directly, she had enough reference points to issue an authoritative opinion. I spent many weekends in her ancient Cheshire farmhouse with the musket holes in the foundation to protect against indian raids and the secret spot behind the fireplace where slaves hid in the 1850's Freedom Railroad on their way north to Canada. Dusty newspapers from the 1960's clogged the front staircase that was never used. Every National Geographic since 1940 sat piled in closets and behind sofas. Photos and postcards sat in boxes everywhere. Nothing got thrown away. Even the dust had dust. Her home was a database, and her brain was the ultimate computational instrument, an informational repository without parallel in our family.
Helen's knowledge of the world seemed to extend way beyond the bounds of her 1730 home. When I was young, I sat in awe of her voluminous and expansive mind never daring to question or challenge any of her positions. But as I grew into adolescence I began wondering if some her statements weren't maybe a little made up, or at least extrapolations of things she knew into things she thought she knew or could know with just a little imagination. But woe to you if you challenged her without some backup because she sure did know a lot and her mind was so sharp you could be reduced to blabbering in a microsecond if you really didn't do your homework and researched a topic.
But when I got to about 20, attending college - the place you went to get important information before Google put it on our smartphones in the subway - I started to learn that lots of what Helen said wasn't quite the way she said it. It wasn't that it was completely wrong, its just that it wasn't really always black and white the way she presented it. There were lots of different ways you could see and interpret the information. And you could construct a perfectly valid and well thought out argument that tied her up in intellectual knots. And back at the farm that summer we had some great arguments. Fact is, Helen was often at least partially right and wrong about a lot of things. Not philosophically wrong, because that's a matter of belief.
Factually in error, but never in doubt.
Her conviction was the secret of her intellectual strength. We've all known people like Helen, and many of you who know me are probably already murmuring "ahh, that's where he got that..." But I didn't bring up this point to wax about my family heritage or personality. I brought it up because this characteristic is one we find every day in our organizations, in the newspapers, on the web, in our governments. People develop points of view and stick to them, and getting people to see beyond their point of view is really a challenge. It isn't that the information is wrong, its that the people interpret it the way they see the world.
Information itself is a human creation. The computer didn't put it there. It isn't immutable, dirty until cleaned, chaste, pure, imperfect until perfected. It is a reflection of us, and since we created it, its sometimes wrong or the truth is at best a mixed result.
But what's to blame for that? Your Metadata? Your Business Glossary? Data Architecture? Security & Privacy? Audit? Your Organization?
YES! All of the above. Everyone who creates and uses information is involved in its interpretation and implementation. You don't have to be a data architect to influence the way information is used in an organization. Any iPhone or Android user has a role in the information management today. Bloggers, vloggers, and photographers shape and shade their creations to effect a mood, sell a product, influence an outcome. Everyone with a data connection is a source and a target and we all must accept responsibility for how we govern the use of OUR information.
Those consultants who tell you how to "govern the data" with all those tools are not helping anyone but themselves. Tools like Business Glossaries, Metadata workbenches, Master Data Management, Data Quality Profiling, and Audit help us understand when our information is out-dated, inaccurate, partially true, or just plain boulder-dash. We use those tools to illuminate the dark corners where opinions and habits force difficult debates to unlock the truth because we know that Information is the only tool we have to change behavior.
Want to succeed with Information Governance. Get Aware. Know what's happening and share it. Use your Information Governance tools to build operational awareness.
People will change their opinions when confronted with a solid argument, and that's what you want - Change from Information.
Fact is, I learned a lot from my aunt Helen and I still hear her voice strong as ever. Sometimes wrong, never in doubt.
The Winter Solstice is the time for Data Governance Predictions. And here are mine for 2011:
1. Systemic Risk Councils will proliferate. The Dodd-Frank Bill established a Systemic Risk Council in the Federal Government to aggregate financial data from across the economy to detect patterns of exposure that can impact macro-economic policy. All Financial regulated entities should follow the leader and do this themselves. Some, like JPMC and Goldman Sachs already do this. Everyone who is not doing it should get on the wagon and replicate.
The Federal Government will take eons to gather all the data and make sense of it. And even if they do it, their will be political considerations with regards to how the data is used and disclosed. And forget about counter-cyclical policy-making. So if you want your firm to escape financial ruin in the next Sub-prime, Sovereign Debt, Greek, Irish, Portuguese, or Spanish Debt Crisis, go and get a Risk Council and start sifting the data yourselves. Processors and storage are cheap, data is widely available, what you need is the organizational structure, decision-making system, and a sound Data Governance program. Get it going now, because with all the debt the world has accumulated there will be many more crises to predict.
2. Health care will join the Information Revolution - Today, many doctors use the Internet to look up symptoms, anatomy, and, of course, pharmaceutical remedies. Yet as an industry, there are so few information resources that document the comparative performance of doctors and hospitals in how they treat patients and the results. In 2011, thanks to US health care reform, this will start to change and I foresee a nationwide movement to aggregate vast amounts of health care data to analyze and report on what works, what hurts, and start building plans to make care more efficient and more effective so that people live longer. Data Governance will play a huge role in this effort, which will start next year and consume the next decade.
3. National Incident Detection - Like it or not, the days of the Internet Wild West are numbered. While the new Republican Leadership in the House is opposed to the Net Neutrality Bill, it seems certain that some form of national security oversight over Internet incidents and threats is going to happen. The government has been trying to corral business into sharing incident information since 9/11 and I predict they will succeed at some point because nation-sponsored cyber-warfare can not be resisted by private enterprise alone. In some as yet to be determined form, new information sharing regimes will need to be designed that aggregate threat information from businesses across the nation to develop early warning systems and protect national Internet assets.
4. Self-Governing Commons - Human beings can, in fact, govern the use of common resources more efficiently than hierarchical or proprietary solutions. The Information Governance Community is a demonstration of this fact, and in 2011, similar demonstrations will proliferate around the world and Social Networking itself will mature into online meeting places where people do more than talk - they will govern themselves to produce common work products. An aggregation of people without a deliverable is a media channel. Those same people collaborating on common ideas to produce work are self-ruling corporations and this phenomena will change how people are organized around the world. Any idea or project can be accomplished by self-organizing groups of people with common interests, a governance model, and an incentive structure designed to produce an outcome to effect change.
Five years ago, we formed a Data Governance Council to change organizational behavior and effect change. Achieving Semantic Consistency, Data Quality, Single Views of the Truth, Trusted Information, and Security & Privacy are all IT goals necessary to achieving any one of the above Predictions. Information is changing the world and with information we can change ourselves. However, without Governance, all we have is Data Management and none of what I described above is possible.
Fog. I thought we were in the clouds as the plane wheels hit the ground like a fighter jet landing on a carrier deck. Visibility was maybe three feet and the fog was so dense the plane parked on the tarmac and we were brought to the terminals in bright yellow buses. Kastrup is so efficient. Clean walnut parquet greets you as you climb up floors to reach the neatly organized passport control, where kind border control guards actually smile when you arrive at the window. In JFK they growl at you and treat you like a criminal begging for mercy to enter a dingy airport that feels more like a mid-50's bowling alleyl. In Copenhagen, the baggage is at the carousel when you arrive and the airport feels like a luxury shopping arcade. Mercedes taxis whisk you into the city, on a sleepy sunday when most of the city is just having brunch.
My hotel room isn't ready when I arrive, but I'm happy to have some hours to relax in Vesterbro and wander the empty streets as the fog burns off into early autumn sun drenched splendor. The grass is green, the trees are yellow and red, the sky is bright blue. It takes me two hours to adjust and remember the life I led when I called this city home for 5 years in the 1990's. Bicycles wiz by on their own lanes next to the sidewalks. Late 19th Century apartment buildings hide hip modern interiors. Small, heavily taxed cars conceal a standard living that is the envy of most other nations. What a remarkable governance experiment. High personal income taxes (top rate is 52%), VAT (25%), car tax (220%), and all manner of other taxes are balanced by very low corporate tax rates (26%) and a free labor market, yielding universal healthcare, excellent pensions, and free education through PhD. This country is a net oil exporter, thanks to lucrative North Sea oil platforms, yet produces 60% of its energy needs from wind, solar, and geothermal.
While America watched its bridges and roads deteriorate, Denmark built huge public works projects extending road and rail bridges to Sweden, Germany, and from Jutland to Zealand. They unified their rail system in Copenhagen, and deployed high speed rail to Hamburg and Stockholm. They made Kastrup into the logistical hub of Scandinavia, linking the Nordic countries to the EU mainland. It is a remarkable little country, and this week the weather is also wonderful.
I'm here to speak at a conference - IBM Software Group Day. I'm in a Global Services track and have 35 minutes to go through some dense Data Governance content. The conference site is a mile from my hotel and I love the walk through Vesterbro, along many sleezy streets west of the Main Train Station that today feel quite a bit better than they were a decade ago when I lived nearby. The conference venue is an old slaughterhouse, now filled with 1200 IBM customers, and some fantastic art works on the walls. The conference organization is fantastic, and everything seems to run as efficiently as the rest of Denmark. My session is just after lunch, and my slides suffer some strange powerpoint virus which mixes them up just short of delivery. But the audience is wonderful and we had a great time going through the discussion. Somehow I finish on time, which is rare, and get some great questions after.
Enclosed is what I presented. Its similar to the SIMposium 2010 deck with two new use cases. They worked well in Copenhagen and I have plans for something even better at IOD: Copenhagen SWG Day Presentation
The rest of the week is full of customer meetings, but every day I'm here I'm reminded of the life I once lived in Denmark and the part of me that that lies dormant the rest of my life when I'm not here. Its the casualty of international travel, that you learn not only great things about the places you visit but also what you learn about yourself that is only evident when you are there again.
On Tuesday, I gave a keynote presentation at SIMposium 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. It was on the last day of a conference at 8:15am. On the best of days, I'm not a great morning person. The last day of a conference is not normally the best of days for a presentation. Normally, at least half the participants are in taxis on the way to the airport and the other half are often exhausted from the content and discussions on the earlier days. When I was first asked to speak, I was not inclined to do it. Keynote or not, 8:15 on the last day felt like a bad proposition.
I could not have been more wrong. First, the room, and it was a huge ballroom, was full with about 300 people. Second, they were awake, animated, and fantastic to talk to. We had a great conversation together, and I completely enjoyed the interaction.
Third, they were not the normal Data Governance crowd. In fact, when I asked how many had Data Governance programs at the start of my presentation not one hand went up. This is the kind of group I love talking to and they are the ones we most need to reach.
SIMposium, thank you for an excellent experience. Many have since requested my presentation and here it is in Flash format. Just click on the link below and it will launch in your browser.
SIMposium 2010: Change is Not Just a Word
Last week I watched a video clip from President Obama's Town Hall meeting in which Velma Hart, a former Obama supporter living in Maryland, told the President about her disappointment with the lack of change since he took office. She told the President she had voted for change and things haven't changed. He responded by telling her about some aspects of the Healthcare Bill and Credit Card reform that have changed. The contrast between voter Macro expectation and Leader Micro response was fascinating.
People around the Country are today unhappy with the 18% real unemployment rate, the spiraling deficit, and many feel they voted for change that they aren't getting.
Obama for his part has a problem that confronts every organization implementing change - even the largest policy initiatives have only incremental impacts and the benefits only accrue over extended periods of time.
But you can't sell that to voters or corporate executives. No one buys incremental progress (even if that's far better than the incremental deficiencies we all are used to living with).
Every organization involved in Governance faces this dilemma - either build a business case for rapid improvement and explain incremental progress later, or train your organization to understand, measure, and report incremental progress and be happy with it.
The latter is quite hard to do, completely impossible without technology that constantly reports the problems you are trying to fix and how your program is solving them.
You can watch how the former unfolds in this year's Congressional elections and decide for yourselves which way you want to go.
Data Governance isn't a new word for the same old stuff. If your organization isn't achieving sustainable results from your data and information management projects, Data Governance can help. But you'll need to do more than just adopt a new name. You'll need to do something far harder - you will need to change how you work and how your IT systems work.
This isn't easy. Best practices, Maturity Models, and Starter's guides can help. But at the end of the day if you don't change, everything stays the same and the results are desultory and predictable.
I meet a lot of people who ask me about the Data Governance products or roadmaps organizations should buy. The best products you can buy are the ones that tell you what you don't already know. To govern effectively, you need to know what's going on in the context to when it is happening, what it means, and how it relates to other things. Governance without awareness is a dictatorship of ignorance - people make decisions in their comfort zones because they don't know any better and don't know that they don't know any better either.
OK, nice words Adler but what does that really look like? It looks like Android.
Last week I switched from an iPhone 3GS to a Samsung Galaxy S. Lots of reasons behind the switch, a primary motivator for me is that Android is based on Linux, which in turn is based on the collective contributions of a global community coordinating their ideas for the common good. I like that, and I like Android because as a mobile operating system it integrates lots of disparate applications to provide me with useful information when I need to know it.
Example: Boingo. Boingo is a wifi service that works in some 80,000 airports, hotels, and other hotspots around the world. You pay a monthly service to Boingo to connect for "free" in these hotspots. Very hand for a global traveler. On the Iphone, you have an app but you have to first connect with the iPhone to a local hotspot and then see if Boingo works there. This is an example of the old, industrial model of application development. A single application developed for a singe purpose that the operator has to initialize.
In Android, Boingo is integrated into the wifi backbone of the phone and the information notification system. As I drive around my neighborhood, the phone alerts me automatically when I enter a Boingo hotspot and can connect. It tells me what I don't know and helps me take advantage of services I may need. It is intelligent and by sharing information it offers me new opportunities. It gives me content and context, when I know I need it and when I don't.
That's the point of Data Governance. You need to learn what you don't know and help others to benefit from that information. You need to enable and empower new information sharing technologies and methodologies. Include the excluded, bring in the outliers, benefit from diverse points of view and find new solutions to age old problems that have befuddled and bemoaned your organization for decades. You can't warm over the same old stuff and call it Data Governance. You can't govern data, manage information or knowledge because these things are inert.
But you can govern people and empower their decision-making with trusted information and insight about what's going on every day that they don't already know. Because with knowledge, human beings can change their behavior and that's what Data Governance is all about - changing organizational behavior.
This isn't a small thing. This is a very big thing. Its about the influence of Information on organizational structures, how corporations change how they work in an Information driven transformation. This change isn't coming from within. We aren't transforming organizations with information. My god, if that were the case we would have succeeded decades ago with the first mainframes. What's happening today is that our organizations are being confronted with the change of billions of new sources of autonomous information production we don't control. This is the mass of humanity communicating with each other over the Internet with the speed of now and the intimacy of a small village.
We aren't transforming with information we are being transformed by information, and this is a wave of change we are either riding or drowning in.
Newspapers, Magazines, Music and Movie production are already being replaced by global and autonomous information distribution. Not everywhere, not all at once. But even the strongest brands feel the pressure and are adapting to change. In the beginning they will change their models of distribution. Soon after, they will change models of work.
Industrial models of organization - Thomas Gradgrind and the repitive drudgery of assemblyline work, the process controls and enslaving stopwatch measurements of efficiency - these last vestiges of the way we worked in the latter 19th and 20th Centuries hold on in our organizations like a virus resisting antibiotics. There are power structures invested in these models, and they will continue to hold on for some time yet to come.
But you need to ask yourselves. Where do you want to be working, in the past or in the future? Riding on the wave or under it?
Change isn't just a word. Data Governance isn't an option.
The IBM Information Governance Council Maturity Model is a model you
use when you don’t know what IG is. Its purpose is to encourage people
to start a program by learning the basics. That purpose remains
extremely valid. If you want to deliver trusted information to make smarter business decisions, this is a great resource.
But we want to build IG into all the projects that people do today
without IG - like getting to know your customers, mining data for
insights, protecting it from abuse, calculating operational risk, etc.
These are real world problems that companies solve today well and more
often not so well.
Often, people have to get things done today with fewer resources than they had yesterday and the best anyone can do is make the problem go away NOW. Information Governance in these solutions are an afterthought at best and therefore the outcomes are only sustainable
for a short time.
In this presentation, I am proposing that our Community work on
building Information Governance new maturity models based on the
business outcomes organizations commonly seek. By building these new
models with the wisdom we already have, we can help advance Information
Governance as a business enabler that helps every IT-based project
achieve sustainable results.
And that creates a business case for measuring maturity more often
and will help make our Community the go-to resource for the latest
know-how, thought leadership, and solutions.
I am sharing this presentation in advance to give the Community time to absorb it and respond with comments and ideas. If you want to comment, please join the Information Governance Community and post your comments to www.infogovcommunity.com. The ideas we generate in Tamaya will be broadcast live on this site and your comments will be incorporated into the meeting topics.
This is a flash file.
Smart Governance Forum Introduction
Today, we the global Information Governance Community are announcing that we are publishing the Data Governance Council Maturity Model under an open source copyright (for non-commercial purposes) on a website called www.infogovcommunity.com.
The purpose of the website and the publication is to invite the world to participate in a crowdsourcing project to involve thousands of Information Governance practitioners from around the world and help the global community to update the Maturity Model and broaden the definition of Information Governance.
The site is powered by Chaordix, a fantastic company to work with. We've been working together in a two-month beta test of crowdsourcing in which the Council reviewed the site and submitted ideas each week which Chaordix took and implemented. What you see today is a product of Community interaction and technology.
Take a tour. On this site, you can interact with peers from around the world in the time and timezone most convenient to you. You can use the Maturity Model to self-assess your organization's capabilities, work on topics to define Best Practices, and establish your credentials as a leader in the growing international market known as Information Governance.
Check out the leaderboard, where the best and brightest can see how their ideas are recognized by the community, or the blog where longer ideas are published to inspire insight and discussion. Infogovcommunity.com brings together Information Governance and Social Networking to inspire innovation for the common good.
The site is brought to you buy IBM but supported by the Community for the Community with a self-funding subscription model. Starting on September 1st, Community members will pay $299/year for individual membership and $699/year for corporate membership to cover the yearly costs of maintaining the site.
Please join us for an international crowdsourcing experience!
In May 2006, the IBM Data Governance Council used poster board and sticky notes in an oak paneled room in the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City to create the categories, elements, and levels in the first version of the Maturity Model. About 35 people
participated in that process in Quebec, and perhaps another 50 more in subsequence meetings.
On September 14-16 2010, the Council will use social networking crowdsourcing technology to include a global community in a discussion about the Maturity Model - Live!
Suggestions and comments from practitioners all around the world will be relayed to the participants in the room.
Of course, this venue is awesome, and there is no substitute for live, face to face, communication. But if you can't travel to Tamaya, and spend three fabulous days with The Council in the Desert, you can still tune into the action by going to infogovcommunity.com.
In the room or in Rangoon, you can watch the ideas flow and chime in live or tune in later and add your views.
Either way, what you contribute will impact the community and change the Maturity Model. Synchronous or Asynchronous, this meeting is the beginning of a global dialog on Data Governance Maturity.
What we do in the room will make a difference. And what you contribute from your own room will make a difference.
Please join us in Tamaya or online at www.infogovcommunity.com to capture the best ideas from the Global Information Governance Community, contributed for the Community and published in an open-sourced IBM Data Governance Council Maturity Model.
This is how we innovate!
Steven B. Adler
IBM Data Governance Council
Boston is America's most European City. Sorry San Francisco. Hills and Fog are not a substitute for Culture and History. The scale of Boston, with its rivers, sea, beaches just beyond the harbor, and easy access to fields, forests, and farms on the periphery make if feel like Hamburg or Stockholm. I've been to Boston a dozen times, but most often for just a day. I know Logan very well. Last week, I discovered Boston for more than a day.
A great city! Who knew nice people lived in a civilized city North of New York?! <mock sarcasm>
On Tuesday, we drove up from NY and discovered that Boston is a six hour drive up during rush hour and a 4 hour drive back before. On Wednesday, I was a speaker at the MIT Information Quality Industry Symposium
in an afternoon session lasting 40 minutes. I arrived a lunch and found the event starting just after in a square building on Amherst Street on the Cambridge campus. About a hundred people filled a large tiered classroom. Many familiar faces and some old friends. We traded "what's up" stories in the lobby on low black sofas while chowing on salty sandwiches and chips. The US Army was the keynote speaker and some army chaps were in the lobby talking about Army things. Data Governance Aficionados were comparing the US Army to the British Army, who had just won a Data Governance Best Practice Award at the Wilshire Conference in San Diego last month.
Funny coincidence...all ideas are derivative...
My presentation was about www.infogovcommunity.com
and The Six Easy Steps to Smart Governance
and it was very well received. I like to present. Doesn't matter what mood I'm in before I stand up I always step up about three steps higher when I start talking. Its the audience that feeds me. Not the adoration, center of attention. I need the feedback. Every time I present I learn something new from the audience and its that interaction that makes presentations so much fun for me.
On Wednesday, my audience gave fantastic feedback and it took me all weekend to process what I learned. Information is a Tool.
Wow. I can't tell you how many "Information is an Asset" presentations I've sat through where some IT Architect is trying to persuade the audience and herself that Information is an Asset with a value that can automagically be calculated. Someone out there is working on fantastic formulas that will produce THE ULTIMATE INFORMATION ROI CALCULATION and win a Nobel Prize.
Ain't gonna happen. Here's why:
1. Value is dependent on price. Information has a value when there is a pricing mechanism and a market in which it buyers and sellers can interact. Movies, Music, News, and Software are all examples of INFORMATION that is sold with prices in markets. Economists have already developed pricing formulas for consumer behavior in markets. Cobb-Douglas Utility Theory captures these interactions nicely. In a market, both buyer and seller benefit so outcomes are equal.
2. Corporations have no internal markets. IT professionals are mostly eager to assign value to Information because Applications and Information are the primary work products of their lives and they want their life work to have meaning beyond their jobs and paycheck. But without internal markets for buyers and sellers to establish pricing mechanisms, Corporations can't assign anything but abstract values to information.
3. IT uses Unit Cost of Labor (Thank You Karl Marx) to assign the value of IT work products. The Unit Cost of Labor identifies the human contribution to value creation. Information is an Asynchronous Asset and it doesn't have to be right to be valuable.
IT professionals are so hopelessly enamored with "The Single Source of Truth." IT is a belief system but that doesn't mean that verified information is always valuable.
Fact is, quite often lies are just as valuable. Two examples:
1. In the old days, The Department of Labor compiled monthly unemployment data based on the percentage of the workforce that wasn't working. That made sense. Unemployment means "people who want to work but can't find work." But in the 1990's the standard was changed to include only the people filing for unemployment benefits each month. This rate excludes members of the workforce that are working less than 20 hours a week, people who have stopped filing their weekly claim for unemployment benefits, the elderly, and those who have dropped out of the workforce entirely. So naturally, the new number is much lower than the old number. How low? The current rate of unemployed is 9.5%. However, if you include those working less than part-time, those who recently stopped filing for unemployment benefits, and those who dropped out of the workforce entirely the real rate of unemployment is 22%.
What's the difference? 9.5% is a recession. 22% is a depression. Information is a tool used by policymakers to achieve a goal and the outcome is not equal.
2. In May 2003, Ebay restated its earnings from 2000 and 2001 but didn't tell anyone
. It appears that someone in the accounting department "discovered" a $127 million loss both years and retroactively restated earnings. They hid the restatement in their SEC filings. From a "Single Source of Truth" perspective, one could argue that the restatement demonstrates the value of trusted information. But I don't think that's the truth. I think the reporting of lower losses was a GOAL of ebay and the chart shows that the under-reporting had the effect of protecting the stock from significant declines during a recession. The truthful reporting of the losses during the bull market of 2003 had no negative impact on the stock. So it looks like ebay hid the truth when it benefited them and revealed the truth when it couldn't hurt them.
And who could blame them... after all using Information as a Tool to achieve policy goals is the whole point of Governance.
And this is where I say to my IT friends that you won't be successful with Data Governance if you don't give up the hopelessly naive belief that a single source of the truth is a the goal of Data Governance. Data Governance is a Business Process
The Goal of Data Governance is to achieve business goals - cutting costs, improving revenue, reducing risk. As we've seen above, the information doesn't always have to be "right" to achieve these goals. That's why Data Governance is a business process and not an IT process.
Try to make Data Governance into an IT process like some sort of application development lifecycle and you will fail. Not because the process is wrong. Because the assumptions are wrong. Human Nature is at the Heart of it
This week, my wife and I visited the Bank. Its amazing how defensive retail bankers are these days when talking with their customers. And they should be! Money is free and these guys are charging nearly 5% for mortgages for the best rated buyers. But beyond the mortgage discussion, our friendly banker brought a good idea to us - Debit Cards for our teenage sons. It teaches them responsibility with money, he said, how to budget with what they have. And of course it gives the bank two new debit cards that earn small fees with every purchase, not to mention ATM fees at other banks... But of course, Debit Cards are fact of modern life and as much as we'd like to keep our kids kids and not indulge them in the consumer culture of America yet we need to be modern parents too.
So we brought the idea home during the Saturday BBQ dinner in the backyard. "We went to the bank today..." the conversation began. "And we are thinking about getting you both Debit Cards..." At the banking bit, my kids started paying more attention to their burgers than us. Banks are boring. But as soon as the Debit Card idea surfaced, WOW! My kids know what Debit Cards are - its a BENEFIT. As soon as the conversation turned to a BENEFIT for them, they were alert, animated, inquisitive. They wanted to know how would it work, when would they get money, how much, how often, what happens when the money runs out, where can they spend it, how do they get it?
How much was the big topic. Kids, all kids, are smart. They began negotiating from the getgo. My wife and I hadn't talked about how much, and they knew it. They wanted to hear what we were thinking. How much? Ben, the oldest, wanted to set the floor for negotiation. "Just what are you thinking?"
Net: When benefits are at stake in any discussion, negotiations are competitive and you have to arbitrate between self-interest and the common good. Because you can't afford how much the other party WANTS because WANTS are infinite.
That's where Governance comes in. You compare the situational needs of each party to sustainable goals of the program and you make a decision. Based on the goals. In a business process. With Six Steps.
Information is a Tool. When you use it its an asset for YOU. Not always for the other guy.
Thank you MIT.
On February 16, I posted a blog on the Six Steps to Smart Governance
, and followed that with another blog on April 14 entitled KPI's Have to be Key
These two articles have now been combined into a recently published IBM Thought Leadership White Paper available here.
is an ancient Spanish colonial city with American influences and a culture all its own on the rim of Asia. It takes several visits to appreciate that despite appearances and a host of American shops, businesses, and call centers, Manila is not a larger Honolulu, and the Philippine people are not just nicer Hawaiians. The culture, like the heat, is soft and pervasive and gently unique. The foreign influences, like the rain during the early June rainy season, hide behind clouds.
Two weeks ago I made my third trip to Manila, and hosted a Data Governance Council Maturity Model workshop in a modern hotel conference room for 25 customers spread across 10 tables of round. In my 8 hour presentation, I integrated the Maturity Model into the Six Steps to Smart Governance using both OpenOffice and the IBM Application Roadmap Tool (ART). Customers used laptops with the ART tool running to score their respective levels of maturity and I explained how the Maturity Model provides benchmarks to assess current and desired states of Maturity from which the Six Steps can be used to govern the use of data in a more scientific and repeatable way.
I've given these two presentations often, mostly in shorter conference presentations, but at least 12 times a year if not more. I constantly update my presentation with current examples and anecdotes to keep the material fresh but also to keep myself fresh and avoid the self-boredom of redundancy. But to each new audience, the material is fresh and I'm always amazed at how the Maturity Model transforms conversations from abstract theory to relevant practice.
I present five to seven charts then go to the ART tool and we run through three to six sub-categories of the model. Organizational Structures/Summary, Data Quality/Processes, Stewardship/Accountability, Risk Management/Accountability. During these phases I read the content for each level of Maturity and simulate a to-be and desired state by moving the slider bars over. Most of the audience hears my words and ignores my gestures. They are engulfed in a personal assessment of their own Data Governance maturity. Huddled over the laptops, they discuss their perceptions of the model levels, argue about what the terms mean, relate the observed behaviors of 50 companies in North America and Europe to their own habits.
It is fascinating to watch! They don't want to move forward to new categories, as each level brings forward painful memories of immature practices, problems long festering needing change, and the re-awakening that they too are immature and can change with an external assessment.
Four years after its creation by a group of 50 visionary Data Governance Council members, the Maturity Model still inspires and provides fresh evidence of its value and relevance. It excites audiences all across the world, and as a benchmarking tool there is no comparison. Every time I do this I wonder to myself how this material can excite as it does. But it is the common awareness of ad-hoc, episodic, IT adventures, crises, and budget constrained fixes over decades that motivates people to realize that their situations are not unique and that only systemic solutions will work.
After all these years, Data Governance is a real global market and the real work to make it a success just now begins.
Thank you Manila.
Eight years ago, I was in La Hulpe
Belgium for a training seminar. La Hulpe is a leafy village in one of the POSH suburbs of Brussels, near Waterloo, where Napoleon lost his final battle in 1815. Back then, IBM owned a Danish designed training facility nestled in the woods. It had spartan hotel rooms - single beds in mid sixties teak cosseted next to walls with small night tables and large windows facing mossy oaks and elms. There was a large auditorium, many good sized classrooms, a decent cafeteria, a good bar where I first tasted Belgian Ale, and wonderful trails through the woods. I remember this place as a part of IBM that sadly doesn't exist anymore, a collegiate history where education took place face to face. So quaint in retrospect.
The training seminar spanned two weeks, and I had a weekend in-between. In 1995, when I first joined IBM, I spent my first six weeks of employment in La Hulpe, studying the Insurance Application Architecture - an object-oriented data model for insurance optimization. Over the next five years of my IBM career in EMEA (working in Copenhagen) I spent months in Brussels and La Hulpe and got to know it extremely well. So on this weekend, I decided on something new.
I rented a turbo-diesel Alpha Romeo 146 and took off on the motorway - direction Bruges
lies on the motorway between Brussels and Bruges and I made a breakfast pitstop in that city on a sunny Sunday in 2002. Ghent is a an ancient city like Bruges, with wonderful streets, canals, old buildings and churches. It is perhaps less famous than Bruges but no less charming. My decision to stop there eight years ago would prove more important than I could have realized at the time. In many ways, one short experience in that city changed my world view in profound ways.
It was about 11am by the time I got to the city center and found parking. I had a camera in hand, and was prepared for sightseeing. My parking spot was on the outskirts of town and I had to walk far to reach the center. Modern balcony apartment buildings on tree lined streets with shops below gave way to older buildings with stucco walls and flower boxes. Along the way, I stumbled upon a darkened 15th Century Church
. The walls were black, the flying buttresses grey, and the outer door was open.
As I stepped inside, I heard voices and I froze. It was Sunday. 11am. Mass was being celebrated. I speak German and Danish. I can understand some French and Dutch. But Flemish is beyond me. During the day, an empty church is a museum of art and architecture. It requires no involvement. You stroll through and admire ancient imagination.
At this moment, I thought about turning back. "I don't belong, I'm not part of this community, I don't speak the language, it's not my religion."
I went in anyway. When you travel you can either be an observer and stay in your bubble, or you can jump into other people's lives and be a participant - to try and understand the world through someone else's eyes, ears, and heart. You can't do that on the outside looking in. You need to be on the inside.
It was a massive space inside, and only a small group of 20 or so seated in the first three pews near the priest. No one paid any attention to me sitting several rows behind. It was a catholic service. I'm not catholic. It was in Flemish. Mircea Eliade calls such moments historical archetypes - the temporary suspension of historical time - because each group repeats a ritual and in doing so connects back in time to other groups who repeated the same ritual. There was incense, standing and sitting, singing and praying, communion and kissing. And it was beautiful.
After 30 minutes or so everyone got up, shook hands, and walked out into the bright light of a sunny spring Sunday. I told some Jewish friends about this experience later and they were shocked I attended a Christian service. The history of Jews and Christians in this world is not a good one. Blood and recrimination, persecution and ignorance mark most of it. My own grandparents fled Christian pogroms
against Jews in Russia that killed many of their relatives. But I told them what I saw in that church was trans-formative. Not that I felt Christian at that moment, but that for the first time I experienced what they experienced in a service, transforming the church from a museum into a community, a living replica of human experience that the paintings fail to adequately describe.
You can't describe the world in a painting. No reference compares with being there in the moment.
Some years later, I was in Istanbul
speaking at a conference on Compliance and Data Governance. The venue was in Maslak
, the business center of Istanbul and after my speech I took the subway to Taksim
and walked across the bridge to the old city. Constantinople it was called from 303 to 1455, when the Eastern Roman Empire ruled a vast swath of Africa, Arabia, and Southern Europe. They build the Hagia Sophia
(Church of Holy Wisdom) in 457 and for centuries it was the largest free standing dome in the world. 1500 years later it still stands, but in 1455 the Ottomans converted it from a church into a Mosque as the city and the empire changed rulers and religions.
There are five other magnificent mosques in Istanbul and one can't possibly understand the city, the history, the ottomans, or the Turks without visiting them. My first was the Blue Mosque
, just across from Hagia Sophia. It is just as massive, and like all Mosques you have to take your shoes off to enter. You sit on the floor in a mosque. There are no pews. The floor space is covered with rugs, the walls and dome are adorned with mosaic. There are no paintings, statues, or physical representations. Electric lights hang 30 feet above the floor in chandeliers that must have once held candles.
Most tourists huddle together in the back gaping at the space. But there are no restrictions on where you can sit, how you can sit, or what you can do. Except, you shouldn't talk much. It is very quiet. Moslems pray 5 times a day and I was there in the afternoon between prayers. There were a few people praying quietly and the overall impression one had was private contemplation.
I visited five other mosques in Istanbul that week. Outside, in the streets, protesters were railing against the islamic government of Recep Erdogan as he was installing his foreign minister as President. There were pro-democracy ralies, and many anti-American protests. The Turkish Army was sitting on the sidelines contemplating a coup, and the courts were considering constitutional appeals.
The Mosques were silent inside. People prayed, life went on. And it was beautiful.
The next week, I flew to Israel
to visit customers in Tel Aviv and talk with IBM Researchers in Haifa
. After the meetings, I drove to Jerusalem. We parked in East Jerusalem, near the Damascus Gate
. Our tour guide was Palestinian and we were Jews. We did the Via Dolorosa
(walk of Jesus), prayed at the Wailing Wall, and walked on the Temple Mount near the Dome of the Rock.
At the Wailing Wall, I met a lubuvitche
r from Brooklyn. We talked about NY, Judiasm, and Jerusalem for a few minutes and he asked me if I would like to pray at the wall. I said yes and he led me to his trolly where he laced me up with a Teffilin
on my head and fore-arm. The Teffilin is a wooden box with a microscopic copy of verses from Torah inside and leather bands that tie it to your body. They put a Tallit
around my shoulders and Kippah
on my head. I no longer can read ancient Hebrew so the men from the Chabad gave me an english phonetic version of a few prayers and together we walked to the Wall.
The Wailing Wall is the last remnants of the City of Jerusalem and the Second Temple of Solomon that remains since the Romans destroyed it in 70 AD during their sack and plunder of the city (from which they took enough gold to finance the construction of the Colosseum in Rome). The lowest blocks weigh 70 tons and they are massive. People have for centuries written small notes to God and inserted them between the blocks.
I put my hand on the wall and said the prayers. There were many other people nearby doing the same thing, repeating a ritual, suspending historical time. And it was beautiful.
Above us Moslem's were praying at the Dome of the Rock
, where Abraham was persuaded to spare his son Isaac 5000 years ago. And nearby, Christians were worshipping at the Church of the Holy Sepulchr
e, on the spot where Jesus was crucified 2000 years ago. All so close.
These are three tribes with derivative roots. They share common ancestry and ideas. And each believes they are right and the others are wrong. They have fought and continue to fight savage wars against each other in the name of their beliefs.
Is there something that unifies them? Perhaps. Is there one way of living or doing things that is better than any other way for every human being and every human culture on the planet. I think not.
The best we can hope for is that people from different tribes, cultures, religions, and beliefs learn to appreciate what's beautiful about life regardless of how it is described.
My next challenge is Yoga. Buddhism is beautiful too.
On Saturday, I sat with an old friend at a secluded restaurant on a grassy river bank North of Bangkok. We are both actively engaged in the banking industry as observers, speakers, and peripheral participants. My friend has a more direct engagement with a Thai Bank but still as an adopted outsider. Lunch was excellent, and we sat on a wooden pier just feet from the river's edge as barges, trawlers, and all manner of ships slowly passed by with and against the current. A pair of large floor fans blew hot air our way and an umbrella shaded us from the searing sun playing tag with the clouds above. The heat in Thailand is soft, enveloping, pervasive, and quietly oppressive. You have no hope of resisting its dictatorship. Somehow the Thais have developed a sweating immunity to their own condition, whereas this Western visitor is deficient in that regard.
During lunch we compared current events in both Thailand, where the Red Shirts have barricaded themselves behind sharpened bamboo poles and tires doused with gasoline. Their encampment was many miles from our lunch spot, and indeed encompasses but a small corner of the entire city of Bangkok. Yet their determination to resist the current government, who themselves are only in power due to a similar incident involving a Yellow Shirt protest two years ago, has driven away western tourists and continues to cause confusion and insecurity in the highest elements of Thai society. And we discussed the Credit Crisis, Greek Debt, US Politics, and Regulatory Reform.
On Greek Debt, we discussed how the former Greek government hid the massive debt it had accumulated from EU Regulators (reporting a deficit of only 3.5% each year instead of the 12% it actually was accumulating), and how this massive amount came to light only with a change in government - when one group had an interest in reporting the bad data another group had an interest in hiding. Most today call this an act of Fraud, but it also has to be admitted that it was not just the former Greek government who had an interest in hiding their debt. The Germans, French, Belgians, and perhaps even the European Central Bank had an interest in ignoring the reality of Greek economic underdevelopment and overextension.
The data about Greek debt was available. Greece can't borrow on the black market. Their debt has to be issued in
bond markets, and the amounts, yield, and maturity dates are all public
record. Bond markets are largely transparent. But Transparency creates its own information asymmetries. First, the availability of information doesn't mean everyone collects the same amounts, has the power to use it, or knows what it means. Second, there is a private sector deference to public sector data aggregation, analysis, and reporting, and the public sector relies on static information reporting programs that limit source authentication, audit, and repudiation. These two behaviors allowed the Greek Government to report fraudulent deficit figures to the EU and the EU didn't bother to verify that information against publicly available market data.
One could argue that the construction and expansion of the EU Common Currency without adequate audit powers created an environment rife for fraud, but this is too easy. EU regulators could have at any time used data from bond markets to verify Greek debt. Why the EU didn't monitor the discrepancy between public reports and private market data has more to do with EU politics than Data Governance.
Every government is comprised of politicians who owe their hold on power to public perception. Everyone in Europe played See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil on the subject of emerging market debt in the EU. The information was available. Net inflows of financing and debt accumulation can be gained by studying the bond markets. Public obligations in Greece are also no secret. Everyone in Europe knew that pension guarantees starting at age 50 in Greece were a ridiculous luxury in a country with such low productivity and wages.
Transparency and Reporting do not, in themselves, guarantee that anyone is using or validating information sources correctly. Every report needs to be validated with external sources, because Transparency is not the same as the Truth. If the EU wants to fix this structural problem in its own multi-nation confederation, it will need to create an independent auditor, like the US Government Accountability Office, whose role it is to audit member programs and reports, to discover waste and abuse.
All reported data must be verified. If we didn't learn this in the Mortgage Credit Crisis, now is the time to take it home in the Sovereign Credit Crisis.
Banks, Hedge Funds, and other investment institutions should not wait for the EU and other governments worldwide to get the audit role right. They should build their own Information Analytics programs to validate the assertions of governments as well as listed companies because what Greece did is not new. Fraud is a part of business.
Data Validation should be seen as an important part of Market and Credit Risk Measurement and Mitigation programs. This is where Data Governance and Risk Management intersect, and new technologies will be needed to make reporting aggregation and analysis easier and faster.
On the river, in Bangkok, I asked my friend if his bank monitored the market and credit activities of their Thai competitors. They do not. They expect the government to collect data from every bank, aggregate and report that to the banking community. And his bank reads those reports. I would argue that the events of the last three years clearly demonstrate that governments are not well equipped to be doing primary market data analysis on behalf of themselves or any industry. They lack the technology infrastructure and the analytical skill to make intelligent use of the data the market already provides and their political dependencies create natural conflicts of interest.
Businesses must perform their own due diligence to verify government reports and conduct primary market data analysis of every potential investment opportunity.
Unverified data should not be trusted. This is Data Governance Rule #1.
I'm writing this blog entry in my hotel room on the 14th floor of the Grand Hyatt in Jakarta, Indonesia. Traffic screams by the massive fountain circle outside in a constant torrent of horns. I've been here all of two days. Met a customer in town this morning, and yesterday we drove three hours to meet a customer in Western Java. I've seen rice patties, jungle, mountains, tea plantations, small villages and ways of life unchanged for centuries, glittering shopping malls with every brand available, fantastic office towers, and levels of luxury unembarrassed by poverty in every street. It is at once fascinatingly familiar and different at every corner.
This year, I've visited customers in Jakarta, Manila, Tampa, Columbus, Johannesburg, Dallas, Hamburg, Warsaw, San Francisco, New York, Brussels, and Cologne. And every where I go I hear the same stories, the same issues, the same needs.
Data Governance is a global market. Everyone is doing it.
Tomorrow I fly to Bangkok, where Red Shirts have held a government hostage for six weeks. On the edge of a knife, a nation split Red and Yellow, and I'm hosting a Data Governance Workshop for 2 dozen customers.
The market need is hotter than Red.
If your company doesn't have a program working today, it's a competitive disadvantage.
Don't wait. Just do it.
Every year, I teach a course at the Bucerius Law School
in Hamburg, Germany. The Bucerius is the only private law school in Germany, and together with the WHU - the only private
business school in Germany - we offer a Masters in International Business and Law
, and it's in this program that I teach.
Each year we have have 55 students from around the world who participate in an intensive program for graduated lawyers and MBA's. they take 6 modules of courses and do a spring internship at a company in Europe or North America. I taught at NYU for a couple of years, but enjoy the international atmosphere at Bucerius better. It's a fantastic program.
Teaching is a bi-directional activity. My classes are always in workshop form. I bring some expertise to the class, and my students challenge my ideas and together we learn.
This year was special. In past years, the course was called "Data Governance." In January, I changed the title to "Smart Governance," and the change was more than cosmetic. The material was entirely new. I fashioned the course around a book called Smart Governance
written by Helmut Willke. Helmut writes some very important ideas about how the knowledge society is changing national sovereignty and the rise of expert NGO's. Helmut's definition of Governance is one that I often quote - The communication activity of coordinating human beings to achieve common goals through collaboration." It's a brilliant sentence that succinctly captures so much. I extrapolated many of his theoretical ideas into what I think is a more practical Governance System that is the core of the Six Steps to Smart Governance
. I used concrete examples of each step in class to contrast with the more theoretical use cases in the book. And I had the students prepare homework assignments geared around individual chapters in the book, asking them to write about their own experiences in this context.
This worked up to a point for the first two days. There were 12 students in the class meeting in the second cold week in January. Hamburg was shrouded in snow. The reading material is dense and difficult, but the class lectures were fun and interactive. On the third day of class, which was a Saturday morning, we were talking about the difference between a Governance System and the policies one would wish to implement. A Governance System is a scientific process by which people try to set goals, define measurement metrics, make policy decisions, communicate the policies, audit the outcomes, and seek to continuously improve.
Even with my best examples, the students found this concept of a Governance System hard to grasp. I searched for metaphors and examples, and could find nothing familiar they could latch on to. So I turned the example inward and transformed the class relationship from teacher/student into a Governance Council and asked the students to help each other to govern the course structure for the rest of the class.
We started with the grading process and the work assignments. I had planned on giving homework every night, for four nights, each being worth 20% of the grade and a short final paper also worth 20%. Students don't like homework, and frankly teachers don't like grading that much either. We had already had two assignments, each worth 20%, and I opened the discussion up as to what work to complete and how much each should be worth for the rest of class. I was a bit nervous about this surrender of power, but what ensued next was absolutely magical.
We discussed various options for about an hour, and in the end the students agreed to do no more homework assignments, a final paper worth 40%, and a participation grade worth 20%. It was not a radical solution, but the students had chosen it. It was their grading structure, and they felt empowered and energized that they made the decision. For me, it was a terrific solution as well because with the students feeling like they owned the grading structure all the teacher/class power structure and tension evaporated. We were now peers collaborating on a common goal.
Next came a discussion on what to write about for the final paper. I had in past classes asked students to prepare papers describing hypothetical governance models for banks or other commercial entities. But in this class, the idea that students could shape their grading structure quickly transformed the discussion into one about how the students would like to also participate more effectively in the governance of the Bucerius itself.
On the first day of class, I had taken the class list and befriended each of the students of Facebook. At the time I was just learning about Facebook myself, and thought it would be interesting to link up with the students directly. I knew some High School teachers who did the same with their students in the USA and wanted to see what it would be like to do it myself. The Bucerius students were amazed that I had done this and not only quickly befriended me but also told all their peers that Mr. Adler was on Facebook. What I saw over the next two days was that I was the only Professor or Lecturer at Bucerius who was on Facebook, though almost all the students were using Facebook for primary communication.
Bucerius, like a lot of universities worldwide, uses an IT system called CampusNet, which provides online classrooms where lecturers can deposit class materials and students can discuss them. It is slow, cumbersome, and hierarchical. The Bucerius Students were using Facebook instead to organize themselves and discuss their classes. They did this for two reasons; 1, Facebook is democratic in structure, and 2) it's fast, easy to use, and everyone is on it.
This proved to be a great example of one of Helmut Willke's central ideas - how hierarchical systems produce apathy from below. Given an opportunity, people will almost always gravitate towards more democratic communication systems in which they can openly express their ideas and communicate with anyone whenever they choose. This is a very important consequence of the Information Revolution. People, all over the world, are using Facebook to communicate across gender, race, and international borders, about important ideas. Their participation is not dictated by hierarchy, government, or inherited status. They are a market of communication and ideas, and their ability to self-coordinate and collaborate has very important consequences in the world.
This new form of communication - Facebook - became the focus of our class discussion on what to write about in the Final Report. Students wanted to influence how the Bucerius was governed. They lamented the fact that no other lecturers were on Facebook, that most lecturers in fact had not attended any of the classes of their peers. They wanted better IT support, to retire Blackboard. But most importantly, the students did not feel consulted regarding their needs and their relationship to the University. And this was the most fascinating part. Their experience on Facebook, interacting in a marketplace of ideas, had changed their expectation of their own role as students at the University. They saw themselves not as recipients of education from learned university professors. Rather they saw themselves as skilled professional peers in a bi-directional relationship of learning and they wanted a voice at the table.
My students wrote four excellent papers, describing new Governance System proposals for the Bucerius Law School. These are important ideas. They illustrate changing expectations in previously hierarchical relationships. Every University and every Business around the world should take these ideas very seriously. They are the future.
I have permission to publish one of them, under a Creative Commons copyright, and am doing so with full attribution. This paper comes from:
Johannes Becher, Germany
Courtney Fischer, USA
Zitto Kabwe, Tanzania
I encourage everyone to read it : Governance System for Bucerius Law School.
They wrote a research paper. In it they proposed a system of governance that would take into account the measured needs of students each year and articulate those needs as policy. Will it change anything at Bucerius in terms of official Governance models? Perhaps not.
But what was written about is change that has already happened. Information technology like Facebook is providing an alternative mechanism for people to coordinate their activities to achieve common goals through collaboration. This mechanism has security flaws, IP issues, and can lead to significant opportunities for abuse. And despite all that, people will use it and their use will force all of us to change ever more rapidly just to keep up.
Lately, a lot of people are asking me about KPI's. What are they? How do we get them? Lets define as many as we can.
A Key Performance Indicator has to be unique, relevant, and insightful to be Key. It should tell you something meaningful, impart knowledge, about your operations that demonstrates clear business impact. It should be the final sum of many calculations, the square root and the root cause. And they should be few and constantly monitored.
If you are tracking more than 5, max 10, KPI's chances are many of them aren't that important. And if you're classifying nebulae like "how many meetings you're Data Governance Council has had" as a KPI you need a glossary exercise on what makes up a KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATOR.
Lets decompose the term to shed light on the components from the bottom up:
This is a metric. A field in a log. The output of a sensor. Raw data collected from many inflection points in your information supply chain. In and of itself, it has little or no meaning. It is like each word in this sentence.
INDICATOR 1: IT
INDICATOR 2: IS
INDICATOR 3: LIKE
INDICATOR 4: EACH
INDICATOR 5: WORD
INDICATOR 6: IN
INDICATOR 7: THIS
INDICATOR 8: SENTENCE
INDICATOR 9: .
On their own, each word has a dictionary definition. But you don't get a complete thought unless you correlate them into a sentence. INDICATOR = DATA
Examples of INDICATORS from the Data Governance World:
of paper documents under records management:
of electronic documents under records management:
of email under records management:
time in days to turn around e-discovery requests
storage (GB) and total cost of storage (USD in thousands)
Interesting? Perhaps. Relevant? Who knows. PERFORMANCE INDICATOR:
To continue our grammatical metaphor, a PERFORMANCE INDICATOR is a sentence whose correlation of facts yields insight into what's going on. It is the result of mathematical analysis, where the sum is indeed greater than the meaning of the parts. You use Performance Indicators to tell you how the things you are measuring are performing. I know this is a self-fulfilling sentence, redundant and just so obvious. But a lot of people don't get this. PERFORMANCE INDICATOR: IT + IS + LIKE + EACH + WORD + IN + THIS + SENTENCE + . = INFORMATION.
Information is a the organization of data into meaning. PI = INFORMATION
RECORD RETENTION COSTS = ((((% PAPERDOCS x $STORCOST)+ (% EDOCS x $STORCOST)+ (% EMAIL x $STORCOST))))
Interesting? Yes. Relevant? Getting there.
KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATOR
I'll make this short and easy. There is a reason this acronym starts with "K" KPI = KNOWLEDGE
KPI's tell you things about things. It's the ueber analysis, the trend of change, the ups and downs of how PERFORMANCE INDICATORS oscillate over time. You want these KPI's to be few and you want everyone to know their name, hotly debating what they mean.
VALUE AT RISK is an example of a KPI. Before the credit crisis, 99% of bankers knew how to spell VAR, saw regular reports on VAR, knew VAR was very important, and made decisions based on VAR. VAR is a ratio of Risk. It is calculated from tens of thousands of INDICATORS, and hundreds of PERFORMANCE INDICATORS.
One or two people in a bank (not the CEO) maybe understand how VAR is calculated and where the data comes from. But that's not important. What's important is that monitoring VAR is KEY to understanding the RISK PERFORMANCE of a bank.
KPI's need to be like VAR. One number everyone cares about. KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATOR: $ We are wasting on redundant storage costs
Interesting? Hell yeah! Relevant? Absolutely.
If you have more than 5 KPI's, most of them are either INDICATORS or PERFORMANCE INDICATORS and no one remembers or cares about them.
Make sure your KPI's really are KEY
Yesterday was a beautiful day in Johannesburg. Sunny and warm, 67 customers met together at the Westcliff
hotel from 8am to 6pm for the third IBM Data Governance Council Meeting in South Africa
. The venue was an old hotel, stucco salmon walls, town-house style, snaking up a narrow cobblestone road to the top of hill overlooking the Johannesburg Zoo. It felt colonial, roman columns, marble floors, wisteria covered verandas, a gracious meeting space.
A tractor-trailer jackknifed on the motorway from Pretoria and many had horrendous traffic that morning. Still, from 90 registered, 67 showed up and the room, set in a double U, with two extra rows of chairs in the back was full to the brim. Amazingly, we started right on time, and from the first presentation to lunch we had a very interactive dialog. The room was full of large banks and insurers, government ministries, retailers, small service firms, and many IBM Business Partners.
We presented best practices from ABSA, Six Easy Steps to Smart Governance
, and many use cases from Data Governance Health Checks. It was a morning meeting, 9 to 12:30, and the time flew. There were so many questions, and unlike the first meeting we hosted in Franschoek a year ago, the audience was more mature, asking not why Data Governance but how Data Governance.
What does a Steward do? Where do they report? How do we set KPI's? Do we start top down or bottom's up? What if Governance is a dirty word in our company? Can we call it assessment instead of audit? What can IBM do to help?
I've hosted so many Data Governance meetings around the world. What I saw yesterday morning was a South African market for Data Governance looking for practical advice and solutions. We knew we had a beautiful venue that in and of itself would attract many participants. What was so great was that so many came eager to learn, enthusiastic to contribute, and completely passionate about Data Governance!
We fired them up and they reciprocated. Some photos of the event can be found here.
And a short video can be found here.
The white papers we distributed at the event , including two papers distributed with permission from Bucerius Law School Students, are available here.
We also recorded a Podcast with Sybase BI Practice and it is available here.
In the afternoon, 25 of us met privately to discuss how to write practice notes on Data Governance best practices for the King III Report
on Governance. This work will be done by Council Members and it will have an impact on governance practices around the world.
My special thanks to ITweb for helping to organize such a terrific event, Tanya Douglas for selecting the venue and orchestrating all the details, Ocea Garriock for providing so much leadership in the South Africa Data Governance Council, Elize van der Linde for her continued passion and excellent best practices at ABSA, and Sunil Soares for his terrific sales support and companionship. It was a team effort all the way and we produced some terrific results.
We continued at a terrace until 6pm, discussing plans for our next meeting in Mpumalanga
Last August seems like a long time ago. There have been so many miles traveled and so many purchases made since, that what I did on August 6th is beyond my recall. Amazon doesn't seem afflicted with the same memory challenges because yesterday I received a note from Amazon "customer service" notifying me that they would soon charge me for the 4 furnace filters I had not returned from my August 6th purchase. Sadly for Amazon, this was the last straw in an otherwise congenial relationship and the story, in all its data details, does illustrate the enormous challenges firms face today in understanding what their data means across many disparate systems.
As you can guess, I purchased some furnace filters from Amazon on August 6, 2009. They come 4 in a box and they are 25x20x5, and at that size the box costs $122 with shipping. Orderd on the 6th, a big box arrived on the 12th. Once opened, only one filter was apparent. A quick check to the account demonstrated that I had indeed ordered and paid for 4, but only 1 was sent. Try and call Amazon and you will find they have no number. In fact, trying to communicate with them is very difficult. An email form is buried in their site. I found it, and sent a note asking why they sent 1 when 4 were requested. Would the other three arrive shortly? I needed one urgently, but we use 4 a year so a full shipment was required.
Within a couple of days an apologetic note from Amazon was returned. They offered several attractive options:
1. Return the filter for a full refund.
2. Keep the filter and get a full refund.
3. Get a replacement shipment of 4 filters at no additional cost.
The first filter was already doing service in the furnace so taking it out didn't seem convenient. I still needed more filters for the winter, so getting 4 more for no additional cost was very appealing so I opted for that choice. In two weeks another large box arrived with the four filters. At this point I was very happy with myself and with Amazon and thought the matter closed.
Three weeks later, Amazon sent a strange note asking me to return the filters I had purchased. I didn't read it fully as I guessed it was a mistake and ignored it. A week later, Amazon debited $122 from my account for no apparent reason and when I checked my email I found another note explaining that since they had not received my RMA they would now debit my account for the purchased filters. I immediately sent Amazon a note asking why I was now being charged twice for the same filters. A day later, Amazon responded with an apology and claimed that they had two different customer service systems and the other one had somehow malfunctioned. Of course, this wasn't a straightforward transaction. I didn't just buy something and have it shipped. Amazon had made a shipping error and offered a non-standard solution that somehow didn't conform to their accounting system. Unfortunately, Amazon made their mistake my problem.
I thought the matter closed until yesterday, when I received another reminder note to send back my RMA Filters. I wonder what Amazon now wants with 2 dirty 6-month old furnace filters. I'd be happy to send them back along with all the household dust I can find because after this latest "customer service" snafu, furnace dust is about all that Amazon will be getting from me in the future.
The internet is the world's greatest strip mall. If one store can't meet your needs, there are others who will.
On Saturday, I took the train from Brussels to Cologne. The train is one of those modern ICE's - sleek, clean, quiet, and fast. The terrain through Belgium is hilly and the tracks pass over rolling fields, deep ravines, and wooded glens. As we neared the German border, the landscape leveled out and the train picked up speed, reaching 200 k/hr at one point. And as the small towns whisked by, I couldn't help think how magical it is to travel from Belgium to Germany via train with no border crossing and no passport control. It is so simple and easy, and without even a word you pass from one country to another.
This is a marvel of modern Europe, and it reminds me that the last 65 years are the longest period of peace in Central European history. Europeans have somehow, perhaps accidentally, realized a reality about modern warfare that has yet escaped the United States of America - modern war is Dumb Governance. For during the same 65 year period the United States has been involved in five large-scale wars lasting over 5 years each, 6 smaller military adventures, and of course one very long Cold War.
If you read my last blog post, you will understand my statement and reasoning that modern war is Dumb Governance. To paraphrase Von Clausewitz, war is the extension of diplomacy by other means. That is, it is an articulation of national policy - the communication of it.
Now back up a minute. If we have a policy that is communicated, according to the principles of Smart Governance it must also have had a decision-making process, some metrics and business case, hopefully either sustainable or situational goals, and some measurable results that we should care to compare to the goals.
In the old days, back before the industrial Revolution, it took 8 people working on farms to support two people working in cities. That meant that you had to have a lot of arable land and unskilled labor to support those cosmopolitan types in cities who made all the decisions. War then was one means to acquiring more arable land for civilized expansion. If you conquered more territory through war, you could expect to feed more city dwellers who produced more income via trade and crafts and that made your society wealthier.
In the early Industrial Age, this logic began to wane because industrial capacity isn't only dependent on land and labor. Its also dependent on capital, and capital tends to dry up when tanks cross borders. Of course, natural resources are also important to industrial economies. But warfare tends to be a fairly resource intensive activity so gains won on the battlefield can be difficult to hold and the net benefit of acquired resources can be undermined by the resource drain of battle.
In the Information Age, knowledge is power and both intellectual labor and capital flow so freely throughout the world that warfare gains on the battlefield don't provide sustainable balance sheet benefits. In fact, they are a net cost to any society waging war.
Think about it for a minute. On 9/11 the World Trade Center was blown up by heinous terrorists based in Afghanistan. Immediately, the United States sent 30,000 troups to invade that country. The stated goal of this policy was to protect Americans from terrorism. The measured need for the policy was the attack on 9/11. The policy decision was made by the President of the United States with full support of Congress and the American people. The policy was communicated with 30,000 American troops and a good contingent from international allies.
And the outcome? Eight years later, we are still occupying one of the poorest countries in the world with over 60,000 troops. Afghanistan is not even a real nation in modern terms. It is a tribal collage of small warlord controlled fiefdoms. Pakistan is barely a modern state, and Afghanistan is 40 years behind Pakistan. Kabul has 4 million people and 95% of them have no running water in their homes. The GDP is only $12.8 billion. It has no agriculture, no industry, few natural resources, no significant knowledge resources.
The war in Afghanistan has cost US Taxpayers $172 billion to date. That is 13 times the GDP of the entire country. We are spending more each year to wage war than Afghanistan is even worth.
Compare the Outcome to the Goals. From an economic perspective, it's a huge loss.
War today is a net economic loss for any country that wages it. Resource control is simply not worth the costs. The Europeans have figured that out. That the US could learn the same lesson...before we bankrupt our nation through warfare...
For some people today, Governance is a bad word. Lots of people are disappointed with Governance these days and I don't blame them. Often, Governance feels opaque, distant, and complex. It doesn't seem to serve the needs of the people, most often appearing to serve the needs of some hidden and mysterious elite.
Very simply, Governance is the activity of coordinating people to achieve collective goals through collaboration. You govern to effect changes in organizational behavior to achieve positive outcomes.
Governance doesn't have to be difficult or mysterious. And even if you feel removed from aspects of national Governance, you can still learn the vocabulary and rules of Data, Information, IT, SOA, or any Governance in your own neck of the woods. Its easy, effective, and it can solve a lot of organizational problems that have eluded solution for many years.
Here are Six Easy Steps to Smart Governance:
1. Set Your Goals:
Governance is a means, not an end. You govern to achieve collective goals. So define them up front:
Sustainable Goals are the goals the program is founded to achieve. Examples can be things like achieving 95% Data Quality across the enterprise, cutting costs and improving customer satisfaction, reducing risk and developing new revenue opportunities. They should be specific and focused, and every governance metric, decision, policy, and outcome should be compared to the program's sustainable goals.
Situational Goals are policy-specific goals that support the Sustainable goals. You might have a business process failure that is impacting data quality that requires new solutions.
2. Define Your Metrics:
You can't make effective policy decisions without facts demonstrating why change is needed. So define what you are going to measure to collect facts that illustrate dysfunction. Those facts form your "business case" for each change. To measure Data Quality, you may need to monitor data processing steps, track business and IT process failures, and benchmark the impact of systemic failures on data delivery.
But be aware, measuring itself will change organizational behavior. A recent NY Times article about NY Police Crime Statistics illustrates this result. It seems that crime has been falling every year even the last two years. What's amazing about this is that crime always rises during a recession. An audit of crime reporting practices revealed that precinct captains were rewarded for reporting lower crime rates and so they developed creative practices for reducing crime reporting rates - like persuading victims not to file complaints, or by looking up theft values of used goods on ebay instead of reporting victim replacement costs. These practices led to lower reported crime rates, and some new forms of creative corruption.
Just having KPI's isnt enough. They need to be calibrated to the goals of your program and the situational goals of each policy. They need to survey the needs of the customers in your system (employees, partners, citizens, etc). And they need to be re-examined on a regular basis. Each problem your metrics reveal will require some governance policy. How you make those policies is the next phase of the process.
3. Make Your decisions:
It doesn't really matter if problems are solved by data stewards, governance workgroups, boards, councils, or large crowds. What matters is why the solution was needed (facts), who was included in the decision, and how the decision was made. Few organizations devote any time to systemically recording their decision-making process, but it is critically important. Everyone makes mistakes. You can't possibly learn from them if you don't keep track of how they were made. Governance is no exception.
Every decision is a policy. Doesn't matter if one person decides or an army. It is still a policy. It may work a little or a lot. To determine why, you need comparable metrics over the decision-making process. Sometimes, you have a simple problem in one department and a data steward can update a glossary definition, change reference data, or define a new BI report. Other times, you need to change business processes, deploy new software, sell a new data architecture to the organization. In every case, a decision needs to be made. Who participates in the decision, how the metrics were used to justify the decision, and how the information was analyzed are all important KDI's (Key Decision Indicators). Journal them. Get good at matching the decision-making model to the scope and scale of the decision.
In Cologne, Germany, the government is letting citizens participate in the budget-making process by submitting their own funding proposals. Its not only a way of getting government to be more responsive to citizen's needs it is also a way to include citizens in the decision-making processes by informing them of the options and letting them decide on municipal priorities. There are times when having a crowd participate in decisions creates ownership, even if decision times will be necessarily longer.
4. Communicate your Policy:
Good policies don't change anything if the communication is poor. In any large organization, even the best policies will be resisted by stubbornness, culture, language, and of course politics. Your best policy decisions need to be communicated in the best way to have an impact. If your policy is to restrict access to sensitive information and that means changing access control policies in your content repository - the policy was the decision and the software changes are the communication. If you have a policy to optimize your Information Supply Chain for SOX compliance reporting, you need to set compliance metrics to measure how your communication tools are succeeding in achieving those situational policy goals.
Remember, to achieve collective goals the collective of people being governed need understand your policies. Information isn't the same as Understanding. So measure not only your KPI's and KDI's, but also how well your policies are being followed - your compliance index.
5. Measure Your Outcomes:
By this point, you have goals, metrics, decisions, and communication. But we govern for outcomes, so we need to measure those too. How well do our facts demonstrating change, decisions to reach change, and communication to effect change really work, and do they in fact achieve the sustainable and situational goals of the program. You might call me a cynic but my normal answer is "of course not." No policy will ever achieve 100% of its intended goals, because every aspect of the policy making and communication process is performed by human beings with diverse needs and emotions. There is no pure policy or solution. Be happy with incremental success. That can still mean achieving 50% of what you wanted the first time, figuring out what went wrong, and going back to your KPI's and KDI's and compliance index to figure out what you can improve to get more of what you want.
Think Dynamic Steering.
Governance isn't an end or a state. Its a means, a process. You need to be honest with yourselves and each other. Outcomes will always fall short of goals in an absolute sense. And that brings us to the final an most important tool in your Governance program:
Audit lies at the heart of every aspect of governance. Governance that isn't audit-able, open, and transparent will become corrupt. It's just a fact of human nature. And if you don't audit everything you will have a program that defines success in a self-fulfilling paradigm. A great example is the Safe Water Act of 1974. It was set up to monitor water quality across America. Unfortunately only 91 toxic agents were named in the bill when it was written, so by law only those agents need to be audited by water districts across America. Today, 35 years later, over 60,000 toxic chemical agents are used in industry every day and 49 million Americans drink small quantities of Arsenic, Uranium, Lead, and other toxins every day because the water districts aren't required to clean out those elements.
Without Audit, Smart Governance isn't possible. You can't learn from your mistakes if you don't even know what they are. And you don't want to wait 35 years to discover your company has been eating small bits of Toxic Content every day.
Audit is the key process and technique underlying many of the measurable steps above. But don't just audit yearly or monthly. Setup Audit all the time. Because if you aren't monitoring what's happening when something happens, you won't know until too late. And for each audit record, do some forensic investigation. Find out why it happened, and keep a record of that too. Over time, you'll have a rich operational history of errors and omissions that will help you avoid past mistakes and make better governing decisions in the future.
If you follow these six steps, you will have a Smart Governance program that will be open, transparent, accountable, and able to learn quickly from its own mistakes. Governance is a system whose goal is to serve the needs of its customers.
It doesn't matter who is doing the governing. If there isn't a systemic approach with Audit at the center, and information flowing evenly to many parties, you will have corruption. And left to itself over time, that kind of Governance will be unpopular.
Make sure that doesn't happen to you.
A recent study in the UK shows that education and wealth have a dramatic impact on life expectancy. Well educated and rich people can expect to live on average 7 years longer than their poorer neighbors. The Obama Administration would do well to pay attention to these demographic factors when considering healthcare reform. Adding 30 million uninsured Americans to the insurance rolls will reduce overall healthcare costs by providing better access to preventative care.
But an even more equitable solution would be to change the insurance premium basis from risk-based pricing to income-based pricing. Richer people should pay more for insurance not only because they can afford it but also because changing the premium basis from risk to income removes any option for denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
Germany's healthcare system uses income-based premiums in a 3-tier model. In the first tier, a government plan provides basic coverage to the poor and unemployed. When you loose your job, you automatically drop into the government plan and your benefits are covered as part of your unemployment insurance. But the benefits offered in the basic government plan are really not desireable. In the second tier, private insurers compete in different industry markets using the government plan as a floor for coverage benefits. Premiums are based on income, and employers must match at least 50% of the premium cost, but many can and do offer more. The private insurers are all regulated in terms of their product offerings by the government and any medical practitioners or healthcare providers in the public system are available. In the last tier, Germany offers a fully private system in which premiums are based on risk (younger people pay less), and patients can only use private providers and hospitals.
The German system provides three levels of coverage - public, semi-private, private - with lots of competition, well regulated practices, and income based premiums for the 90% of the population. Its not a perfect system, as every system requires constant monitoring and dynamic steering. But it provides medical services far superious to the US system at far lower costs with social equity.
What I see in the current healthcare proposals in the Senate and House Bills are a hodge-podge of tactical solutions and a paucity of strategy. There are so many good healthcare systems that work throughout the world. Many use income-based premiums. Its a smart way to go.
Governance is a communication system for measuring complex needs, articulating a systemic response in Policy, and enforcing that policy. When I say it is a system, I mean that it is a social system abstracted from the people and psychologies that perform various Governance tasks. The people may come and go, but the system remains largely the same.
Smart Governance includes some additional dimensions that make the system evolutionary as well:
1. Dynamic methods for collecting and analyzing needs in an organization or society
2. Hierarchical, Market-based, or hybrid political models for integrating diverse points of view into the policy-making process
3. Diverse communication tools for integrating policies into a variety of business, IT, and social processes
4. Methods to measure policy outcomes, compare them to original needs, and re-define policy to meet new requirements
5. Solutions to measure systemic risks, capture mistakes and losses, and enhance organizational intelligence and Knowledge as a Shared Resource through constant systemic improvement.
The goal of the System is to meet the needs of The Customer, without regard to governing ideology, personal psychology, or vested systemic interests, as well as to continuously diagnose deficiencies in the The Smart Governance System, collect organizational knowledge, and improve over time.
Smart Governance is a challenge for human as well as IT systems. We all understand politics. Few understand Governance Theory as a Sociological System abstract from psychological and political practices. In this way, Governance Theory is a communication science more similar to computer science in its architecture and schematics.
The history of Governance is entwined with the history of governing ideology. But ideologies impose systemic order without regard to evolving customer needs or changing collective goals. In a Knowledge Society, governing system ideology is secondary to customer needs and collective goals. The constant pressure to improve outcomes in a globally competitive world, makes ideology a tool rather than a purpose of governance systems.
Hierarchical, Authoritarian, Democratic, Socialistic, and Market-based governing ideologies are all potentially useful systemic policy-making tools in different governing contexts when meeting customer and collective needs with systemic policy response. These ideologies, as communication methodologies, can be used interchangeably depending on the governing policy requirements.
In 1992, Francis Fukuyama wrote a famous book called The End of History, in which he forecast that the end of the Cold War would see Western Liberal Democracy become the predominant world governing system and that ideological struggle as a function of historical definition was dead. From a Governance Theory perspective, this thesis is hopelessly simplistic. Governing Ideology will cease to be a definition of history when companies, nation states and trans-national organizations liberate themselves from the confines of singular governing ideologies and tailor governing systemic tools (ideological communication instances) to meet ever changing policy needs of customer requirement and collective goals.
The two most historically important developments of the last two decades are the growth of global markets and the speed of information technology development. Markets and IT are transforming the world at a faster rate than any other developments in human history. And they are also challenging Governance Models in ways that are equally profound. Kings and Crowds fought it out politically at the dawn of the 20th Century when the ancient Russian, Chinese, Austrian, and Ottoman empires fell, and they are battling commercially today in many markets in which Crowds are winning again.
1. Product Development
I'm an audiophile. I buy expensive audio equipment in the hope of reproducing an emotional connection with music in my home that people feel when they attend a live concert. Being on a limited budget, I'm also a cheap audiophile. I like the best product for the lowest cost, which is one reason I applaud globalization. Over the last decade, high quality, low cost audiophile equipment has been coming out of China that rivals the best high cost gear manufactured in North America and Europe. Some companies have setup local design and Chinese manufacturing with online distribution that brings incredible bargains to mainstream US and European consumers. Two such companies are Oppo Digital and Emotiva.
Oppo makes DVD and Bluray players that are designed in San Francisco and manufactured in China. I've owned their products for several years and am always impressed with their price/performance ratio. But now I'm even more impressed with their product development process. In 2008, they announced the development of a new Bluray player, the BPD-83. These days, consumer electronics are more like computers than audio equipment, with complex Digital Signal Processors, graphics chips and CPU's interacting in intricate designs. Oppo knew product development would be difficult and testing even more so. With the complexity of hardware and software in one appliance it is really difficult for a small team of product designers and marketing professionals in San Francisco to test against every potential usage scenario. And when manufacturing is outsourced to China it is even harder. Distance, language, and culture create barriers that make communication a new challenge.
In this environment, Oppo decided to outsource product testing to its customers by using a Crowdsourcing solution. Several hundred customers received pre-production units of the BluRay player and tested it in their homes. Their product feedback went to the design team who translated feedback into design changes for the manufacturer. The Crowd were given the option to vote on final product readiness. The first vote sent the product back for more changes and fixes in late 2008 and the second vote in Spring 2009 released it for GA in June.
I bought the product in July 2009 and it is superb. I contrast this to Emotiva, which is also a small design team based in Tennessee that manufactures in China. They make outstanding AV amplifiers, speakers, processors, and other equipment. In 2007, Emotiva announced a new AV processor, the UMC-1, for delivery in 2008. That slipped to early 2009, when it was announced that the product would ship in June. In July, the company announced it discovered bugs in the production units from China and would need a couple of months to fix them. By October, more than a couple of months went by and customers were fuming on the company's forums about the delays and the poor communication. In November, the company announced it would begin shipping to the pre-order list and many customers anticipated units before Thanksgiving. By early December, no units had shipped and the company had to start censoring its Forum because customer rants were getting abusive. The Emotiva CEO promised some customers would receive their units by Christmas, and when that didn't materialize many Forum members started talking about buying alternatives.
Last week, Emotiva finally began shipping a handful of units to pre-order customers without manuals. The first reviews appeared over the weekend and talked about stunning video quality but also a few audio and connectivity glitches. The CEO posted a very nice note on the Forum describing the company's pride in the product but also that a firmware release would soon be forthcoming.
So what this company did was use its customers for an unannounced Beta Testing program. They shipped their product very late to market, after a year of inconsistent market communication, with bugs they were probably aware of but couldn't fix without suffering more brand damage.
Contrast the two companies. Oppo used a market based Crowdsourcing mechanism to recruit customers to beta test the new product. The customers who participated in the testing provided open feedback which was visible to all members of the company forum. They fixed bugs quickly and used customers to determine when the product was ready for shipment. That process created customer loyalty and ensured a bug-free product that shipped only six months late. Emotiva used a hierarchical mechanism of in-house testing and opaque customer communication to ship a product more than 18 months late and filled with bugs that alienated customers and reduced brand loyalty.
Some people might say these companies have different approaches to product development or customer service. I abstract these situations as examples of governance models in complex social systems. Oppo used a market-based governance (coordination and cooperation) model and succeeded in satisfying the needs and interests of its market participants. Needs and wants are at a primary market level. Feedback Information about the product are at a secondary market level. Emotiva used a hierarchical governance model (command and control) and failed to satisfy secondary market interests in information and primary market needs for products.
This doesn't mean that market mechanisms always trump hierarchical control. But when a small number of people are trying to govern complex systems for consistent outcomes, a market-based model can be more efficient and produce better results.
2. Cost Containment.
My boss sent me a note over the weekend reminding me to use our ATT Calling Card from land lines when I am travelling abroad. It seems my cell phone bill in November was higher than the accounting police think necessary. All calls above $100 qualify for an immediate audit. Its not clear from my bill if any of my calls were or could be audited, but my boss, who is altogether a terrific guy, wants me to avoid that root canal and work smart abroad. Being a Governance Guy I do have to question the intelligence of a governance system that controls costs through managerial oversight of cell phone bills and automatic audits for $100 calls.
If there is already a trigger for automatic audit at the $100 per call threshold then someone has already noticed a pattern of calls that exceed $100. That kind of pattern calls for a policy change, but automatic audits require a fair degree of manual labor - both from my boss and the auditors. Wouldn't it be far Smarter to develop policies that cause the cell phone users themselves to police their own usage by giving them alternative means to reduce costs?
Some might argue that the warning note from my boss is a policy tool being used to change my behavior. But because the billing system is deliberately opaque in IBM, it isn't possible for me to evaluate the impact of each of my calls on the overall phone bill I incur each month. I can't see the incremental impact of my decisions as Risks to The System as a whole.
A more intelligent approach to cost containment in this case would be to toss the issue out to the Crowd of cell phone users in IBM and get them to come up with ideas to mitigate costs for each user. That process would include users in the decision-making process, getting them to brainstorm ways to reduce costs instead of treating them like cost creators in a hierarchical model to impose control.
Like, shouldn't IBM have Skype strategy for global travelers who make calls in cars and trains so that productivity isn't imperiled while costs are contained?
Crowds and Kings. What do you think? Post a comment and let me know.
I spent the winter break visiting my sister in Point Reyes. Point Reyes is a small, rural town on a beautiful peninsula north of San Francisco. Miles of untouched sea-shore greet cow pastures, redwood groves, marsh, and gently wrinkled hills. The town has a small elementary and middle school where my sister teaches environmental science and my nephews get straight A's. My oldest son Ben compared the courses he's taking at his school in Port Washington, NY with the courses his cousin takes in Point Reyes and noticed a significant gap - up to 2 years in math and science. Now its worth noting that my son doesn't always get straight A's in those classes in Port Washington and so we discount some of his analysis with self-preserving bias.
But looking at the difference in curriculum between this small rural school on the West Coast and the large surburban school on the East, one is tempted to ask "are people on the East Coast really smarter than the west?"
The answer: Of course not. But the way education resources are allocated via public monopoly creates a distortion that makes it seem so. Education resources are distributed on a state level through the seemingly elastic supply of teachers to student demand using fixed ratios of how many warm bodied students fill seats in classrooms. That means that small communities with low populations often get fewer educational resources than large communities. In an industrial society, which is the one that created this educational system, this formula is adequate because it provides basic levels of education to a large population whose primary productive value is measured in skilled and un-skilled manual labor.
But in a Knowledge Society, where productive capacity is measurable in intellectual value creation - this formula is dismally inadequate. A warm body in a chair is not an accurate articulation of intellectual needs for learning. Smart kids in California should have the same educational resource opportunity as smart kids in NY. But the State has created primary education as a monopoly prerogative. It isn't that the sovereign control is wrong. Its that the model is not changing fast enough to meet the needs of a Knowledge Society.
In a Knowledge Society, every student in every school is a customer in an educational market that should be designed to cater learning to that student's individual learning potential and style. The Educational System would provide real-time transparency on student learning demands and fulfillment so that parents can actively evaluate how well the Educational System is meeting the needs of each Student Customer.
Today, even in a school like Port Washington HS, we parents only get mid-term progress reports, term report cards, and SAT scores to evaluate our child's progress in School from a teacher normative perspective. That is, we get to evaluate standardized grading done from the system as a reflection of our child's educational performance. But we don't get to evaluate how well each teacher is performing in terms of educating our children, which school policies have positive or negative impacts on our children, or other factors. Its a very recent innovation that teachers provide course materials on websites at all, and most are rarely available or responsive via email or phone.
As a parent, its extremely frustrating to confront the Educational System with complaints about a teacher. Evidence is hard to accumulate and it always comes down to our word against theirs - in which case the teacher normally wins. This isn't a system designed to produce the best outcome for each student. Its a system designed to produce predictable outcomes for all students, even if a predictable percentage of them drop out at 16.
In a Knowledge Society, every drop-out at 16 carries a huge economic burden for the rest of society because that person has handicapped their potential intellectual value creation for many years if not for life. Even Students who only finish 4 years in University will be educated to a level that fails to match their Knowledge potential.
But if we had more information about what are children are learning, how they are learning it, and how each of their incremental projects, tests, and homework assignments contributed to their overall "grade," we parents could play a far more informed and intelligent role in the development of our children at home before and after school.
And if the school budget system were also calibrated on individual learning instead of warm bodies in seats, we parents as citizens might have more levers to force change in recalcitrant Educational Systems that are not meeting the needs of their Student Customers.
The Nation State as the primary supplier of primary education 1-12 needs new market mechanisms to meet the needs of the Knowledge Society in the 21st Century. There should not be a discernible curriculum difference in the learning opportunity provided in public schools West Coast to East, North to South except the capacity of students to learn and the willingness of parents to monitor their progress.
I hope someday to have the power to choose school board members based on individual report cards of academic achievement of every student in terms of their ability to learn and the System's ability to meet their needs.
That day should not be far off if we hope to succeed as a nation in the Knowledge Society.
It starts with the definition. Systemic Risk is the risk inherent to an entire market or market segment, so says one website. From the definition, we can already see that systemic risk is primarily concerned with the prevention of risks to The System. The System in question is the global financial "system." So the goal of Systemic Risk is the prevention of loss to those involved in The System.
You might ask, "why is Adler focusing on the obvious?" Well, I don't think it is that obvious who The System is and what their interests are. There are lots of well meaning people running around trying to craft new laws and methodologies to assess and prevent Systemic Risk. Most of them will fail without first understanding the needs and interests and goals of The System.
The Goal of every System should be to serve the needs and interests of The Customer. Corruption of The System is when individuals or groups place the needs of themselves as actors in The System above the needs of The Customer. When The System is mostly serving the needs of itself, it is mostly corrupt.
The Global Financial System has had corruption for decades. In the last decade, the influence of Systemic Actors exercising the needs of themselves over the needs of The Customer has become acute. The Financial Meltdown of the past 30 months is the result of this imbalance.
So I wonder, which new brew of experts and which new conference will measure the needs of The System and compare them to the needs of The Customer to assess Risk?
I have a self-serving answer:
Amazon has some Information Governance problems.
A week ago, I placed a large order of Nerf Guns that Amazon keeps refusing to process. My kids love these things and I guess some adults I know kind of like them too. We're all heading out to my sister's house in Point Reyes for Christmas this year and a combined Family Reunion. Both my sisters will be there with 7 kids in a medium-sized house for four days and the best we could all come up with to keep them occupied was felt-warfare among the tall grasses of the Inverness wetlands.
If only Amazon would cooperate.
I have no desire to carry ten Nerf weapons on trans-continental jets. I can see explaining to turgid DHS officials why a family of four needs automatic-nerf canons with heat-seeking velcro missiles. So, I prefer to order them online and let Fedex make the arms shipments discretely.
But my order is stuck in Amazon credit card limbo. It seems that the last time I bought something and shipped it to my sister instead of my home address I used a credit card which expired in May. Problem is, Amazon somehow associates that credit card with my sister's mailing address. I've deleted it in my online account, and I buy things from them all the time with the current card, but Amazon hasn't purged this relationship.
From an Information Governance perspective, what kind of problem is this? It is of course a Data Quality issue, but normal DQ tools might have a hard time with rules matching in this case. My gut is that Amazon just doesn't sweep and purge their accounts for outdated credit cards. Its pretty frustrating as a consumer, especially during these busy days. Some records management would solve that problem, but by now the point is moot for me. I just don't have the time or patience to bother fixing their sloppy Information Governance issues.
Fortunately, Walmart sells Nerf Guns too...