Information Management
By Mark Townsend
10th November 2015

5 years ago I joined an 'IT' recruitment consultancy specialising in the Niche area of Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing, and oh how things have changed!

Let's go back to 2010

The fallout from the recession going into 2009/2010 saw huge growth in business intelligence and datawarehousing. Companies started driving their recovery through informed, data driven, decision making. Data and BI tech giants like SAP, Business Objects, Cognos, Oracle and Microsoft led the way through 2009 and into 2010 with the all-in ‘suites’ and ‘stacks’ approach. A significant 'IT' investment for any company. This growth required the wider information management principles to emerge like data governance and master data management. Yes, they existed, but they need to make responsive decisions still outweighed the management of the data itself.

The transformation

The period 2010-2014 saw huge amounts of transformation, the whole of the information management universe exploded and opportunities arose which previously weren't being serviced. This Big Bang created niches within niches and the era of the boutique vendors and consultancies began. Driven by the diversity of organisations, the variety of BI and data requirements, size and scale and cost/ROI there became a need and solution for everyone. Opensource tech, unstructured data, in-memory analytics and the cloud all became, and still are, hot growing topics.

This wasn't all, the biggest transformation happened within organisations themselves. Opinion changed. Data became important to stakeholders across businesses, and to concentrate on board level reporting wasn’t enough to stay competitive. Data needed more of a meaning to provide the information required, and this could only be defined by the business themselves, not IT. This shift, I believe, is the most important factor to the success of anyone's overall business strategy. That’s right folks! Data is a key element to contain within your overall business strategy, not your IT strategy.

Business driven data

Over the past 5 years, Information Management functions started to become firmly embedded within the business. Whether sitting in highly sponsored group functions like finance or, would you believe it, a business unit themselves! In my eyes, and the eyes of many people I speak to, this is exactly where it needs to be.

Information Management and its components are NOT functions of IT, they can’t be governed by the same controls, they need different levels of sponsorship to be successful, and all their activities are underpinned by the business. Yes it’s a technology area, yes the software and solutions used along the way are part of computing but NO, it can’t fall under IT strategy and IT budget – it’s far too important and the scale that’s required can’t be limited as a sub-function of IT. You simply won’t get the value out of IM that you need.

Technology can’t ensure success but people can

The biggest thing that has struck me whilst working in our industry for the past 5 years is how passionate the people are. Collectively, with the business, people drive data initiatives and the importance of seeing data as an asset. It isn’t the technology that does that, it truly is the people.

This comes in different forms, for example, a well-resourced data governance initiative is crucial to its success, especially in larger complex stakeholder environments that require higher level of control and ownership/stewardship of data. As well as a BI function who analyse and challenge the business being much more valuable, than an automated report or bog standard dashboard.

It’s true, our area of technology is vast and growing, and there are even technologies specifically for data governance these days! But it’s the industry experts, the people over the technology that make information management a success. It’s people that provide the innovation, the new approach to solving a business problem, it’s the people that gain the trust with stakeholders and define the use and meaning of data. There is no doubt about it, technology is absolutely vital for many reasons but it’s also completely worthless without the right people.

Back to the present day

Our market is driven by people, it’s constantly evolving and growing and the demand from our clients is the highest it’s ever been. At the heart of this growth and evolution is finding talented people.  If you need to find the right people now or additional resource is part of your data strategy, I’d be happy to advise on current market conditions and feasibility. You can drop me a line here.

5 Years ago I joined an 'IT' recruitment consultancy specialising in the Niche area of Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing.

Now, I work for an Information Management and Analytics recruitment consultancy specialising in solving business problems with people focused solutions.

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