July 7, 2008 - The IBM Data Governance Council predicted five key information challenges that will reshape corporate behavior and the market’s ability to trust information during the next four years.


The Council met to discuss how businesses will handle the amount and complexity of data generated by big companies and financial markets. Their findings included the prediction of five information-related issues:


In some countries, data governance will become a regulatory requirement and companies will have to demonstrate data governance practices to regulators as part of regular audits. This will likely affect the banking and financial services industries first, and will emerge as a growing trend worldwide.


The value of data will be treated as an asset on the balance sheet and reported by the CFO, while the quality of data will become a technical reporting metric and key IT performance indicator. New accounting and reporting practices will emerge for measuring and assessing the value of data to help organizations demonstrate how data quality fuels business performance.


Calculating risk will become an IT function. Today in most organizations, risk calculation is done by a select group of individuals using complicated processes. In the future, risk calculation will be automated allowing companies to more easily examine their past exposure, forecast the risk they face in the future and set aside capital to self-insure to cover their risk.


The role of the CIO will change, responsible for reporting on data quality and risk to the board of directors. The CIO will have the mandate to govern the use of information and report on the quality of the information provided to shareholders.


Individuals will be required to take more responsibility for recognizing problems and participating in the governance process to facilitate greater operational transparency and the identification of risk. They will be aided by new categories of operational software that will demonstrate common data governance problems and allow employees to self-govern, sponsor and vote on new policies, provide feedback on existing ones and participate in dynamic data governance.


The IBM Data Governance Council is a group of 50 global companies, including Abbott Labs, American Express, Bank of America, Bank of Montreal, Bank of Tokyo, Bell Canada, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, Discover Financial, Kasikornbank, MasterCard, Nordea Bank, Wachovia, Washington Mutual and the World Bank, among others, that have pioneered best practices around risk assessment and data governance to help the business world take a more disciplined approach to how companies handle data, according to IBM.

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