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5 reasons hybrid requires redoubling your data governance efforts

How far has your infrastructure moved into the cloud and what does it mean for your data policies and processes?

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“…the freedom to source business applications out of the cloud is an experience most LOBs would not like to give up today.”

–The Forrester Wave™: Hybrid² Integration, Q1 2014 report

Hybrid ecosystems have become pervasive. Like it or not, data is flowing interchangeably between the public cloud and on-premise systems.

“Enforcing a consolidated application landscape simply slows down the agility and speed of business innovation in many cases. Lines of business (LOBs) subscribed to software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications—partly even against the will of the CIO—to get new systems of engagement in a best-of-breed sourcing style,” states Forrester in “The Forrester Wave: Hybrid2 Integration. Q1 2014”1.

“Although most established enterprise application vendors have caught up either with their own SaaS products or via acquired SaaS application vendors, the freedom to source business applications out of the cloud is an experience most LOBs [lines of business] would not like to give up today,” the report continues.

In other words, hybrid is here to stay.

Preparing for hurdles

A hybrid ecosystem can quickly render any organization’s data governance policies outdated. The following five items represent the biggest challenges to your existing data governance policies. You must adapt to meet them or run the risk of losing control over the quality of your data:

1. Lack of knowledge. Few people have learned how to build, scale, and manage a hybrid architecture. Be among the first to learn how to govern the data that flows between your organization's legacy installed systems and the cloud. Don’t overlook data from mobile devices and social networks.

2. Poor visibility. The traditional data governance model is ill-equipped to handle a hybrid ecosystem. It is based on the “manage by attendance” approach, which assumes that merely watching what’s in front of you is sufficient. But in a hybrid ecosystem, much of the data isn't in front of you.

3. Dirty data. Your current data governance model aims to ensure all of the data managed within your legacy on-premise applications is clean, connected, and secure. If this is still an often-missed goal on-premise, apply the same standards to all of your data. Do this even when you don’t directly manage the systems that capture or use the data.

4. Focus on applications. A hybrid ecosystem demands that the governance of data is separated from the governance of the applications that capture or use the data. This means that data governance must finally be recognized as a strategic discipline separate from traditional IT governance.

5. Organizational silos. As your organization’s data governance evangelist, you must convince key business and IT stakeholders across your organization to assume data governance responsibilities. These responsibilities should be embraced throughout your hybrid architecture, particularly as different departments deploy new cloud services.

Catching up to the future

Perhaps your company has just dabbled in cloud deployments—officially at least. But you can expect cloud services such as SaaS, integration platform as a service, and integration as a service to multiply quickly, often taking the place of traditional enterprise software.

Already, the use of SaaS is moving beyond front-office applications like CRM to back-office functions like financial accounting. Gartner has predicted2 that, by 2018, at least 30 percent of service-centric companies will move the majority of their ERP applications to the cloud.

To manage data in a hybrid ecosystem, you’ll need a flexible governance model that embraces change. This model should also apply the same standards of data management to all data, regardless of its domain—even if you haven't seen it in your enterprise yet.

“The Forrester Wave™: Hybrid² Integration, Q1 2014” report evaluates vendors who can offer wide, deep, cloud, and Internet-of-Things integration solutions.

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