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Human Dynamics of Data Architecture

In many companies today, assigning a dedicated IT resource to data modeling seems to be gaining traction. This is partly due to the need to understand data structures and identify sensitive data for the various privacy regulations being enforced around the world. And it’s also being driven by data governance initiatives, because it’s imperative to know the details about the data in order to properly govern it. These are complementary objectives, since having well-governed data will make it easier to demonstrate compliance to those regulatory guidelines.

Designing for data governance requires integrated modeling, spanning the different aspects of enterprise architecture ranging from high level context through detailed implementation. And doing it well involves the active participation of both business and technical teams within the organization. The human dynamics can be trickier to manage than the metadata.

Whether your organization is just starting out or experienced in enterprise data modeling efforts, there are certain pitfalls that can become obstacles to success. To improve your team’s opportunity for success, you need to encourage collaboration to improve communications, reduce costs, and increase confidence.

Collaboration among members of an IT team comes fairly naturally for many technical people. Within the IT team, the group members use the same terminology and processes for their activities. However, collaboration with the business stakeholders can introduce challenges in communications and alignment. It’s easy for business user requirements to get misinterpreted when trying to map them to technical specifications.

So how do you deal with that? With patience, effort, and an open mind. After all, you should all be aligned to the same business goals, so work together with that in mind. Having an enterprise-wide point of view will improve cross-functional alignment, data quality, and responsiveness to changes.

For more information on the challenges of collaboration and the benefits of enterprise data modeling, read Karen Lopez’s white paper, Enterprise Data Modeling: 7 Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make. If you’re ready to start working on your enterprise architecture with data governance and privacy in mind, download a free trial of ER/Studio Data Architect. Learn more about the collaboration features in ER/Studio in a live demonstration.

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