It’s not news that business user self-service for access to information and analytics is hot. What might not be as obvious is the overhaul of information-related roles that is happening now as a result. What’s driving this? The hunger for data (big, fast, and otherwise) to feed insights, very popular data visualization tools, and new but rapidly spreading technology that puts sophisticated data exploration and manipulation tools in the hands of business users.

One impact is that classic tech management functions such as data modeling and data integration are moving into business-side roles. I can’t help but be reminded of Bill Murray’s apocalyptic vision from “Ghostbusters:” “Dogs and cats, living together… mass hysteria!” Is this the end of rational, orderly data management as we know it? Haven’t central tech management organizations always seen business-side tech decision-making (and purchasing, and implementation) as “rogue” behavior that needed to be governed out of existence? If organizations have trouble now keeping data for analytics at the right level of quality in data warehouses, won’t all this introduction of new data sources and data lakes and whatnot just make things worse?

Well, my answers are “no,” “yes,” and “no” in that order. The big changes that are afoot are not the end of order and even though “business empowerment” translates to “rogue IT” in some circles, data lakes/hubs and the infusion of 3rd party data have actually been delivering on their promise of faster, better business insights for the organizations doing it right.

What’s going on – how can this look like trouble from the classic tech’s perspective but actually be a good thing? Well, that’s the subject of my upcoming Forrester webinar on March 17 at 1pm EST.

The bottom line is that leading organizations are jumping on the heightened awareness of the power of data to drive insights.  And they're capitalizing on business users’ love affair with self-service visualization tools like Qliq and Tableau to get business roles involved in data management and data stewardship in ways the business has been resisting for years in traditional data processing environments (and yes, I mean data processing environments). They’re using new roles like the Chief Data Officer and data scientist – defined either within classic tech management organizations or on the “business side” – to drive dramatic improvements in attaining data-driven insights that power measurable positive business outcomes. They’re putting carefully role-focused tools in the hands of business users for data exploration and integration to great effect.

In the process, they’re evolving their role definitions, organizational structures and processes, and technology landscapes to build towards a data-driven culture that actually meets the goals of classic data management, only in a much more agile way than was imaginable ten years ago.

To explore the details, Forrester customers and visitors can check out this webinar, and watch this space as I pursue my research agenda on the vision for information strategies and information architecture, and the pursuit of the data-driven culture.

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