Several years ago, I was working as the project manager in a large data warehouse project. At one stakeholder meeting, people spent almost 2 hours arguing the data ownership inside the corporation. In the end, the CEO put a comment:
“Looks like this is an Elephant in the Room!”
For people who might not be familiar with this phrase, “Elephant in the Room” means we are facing an obvious problem, but no one wants to take the challenge.
For that data warehouse project, we had spent tons of dollars, but the project seemed to go nowhere. The key problem was no one wanted to own the data. Sales, marketing, finance kept their own information. But when trying to build a 360-view of enterprise data, they never agreed with each other.
A good example was the customer information like address, email, role. It appeared quite differently in multiple source systems. Data cleansing was on the executives’ agenda for months, but nothing changed.
Why did people simply ignore the elephant in the room?
I think there are three main reasons:
1. Lack of knowledge
Stakeholders did not fully understand the concepts like data governance, stewardship, and cleansing.
2. Perspective of Priority
Stakeholders more focused on their immediate department objectives and priorities.
3. Cost of Change
Stakeholders hesitated to make a big commitment to money, time, and resources.
Now, let me ask you: Is there also an elephant named “Cybersecurity” in your room?
We are going to elaborate this topic in the next 3 posts to cover:
1. What is this elephant called cybersecurity?
2. Why do we often assign a lower priority to cybersecurity?
3. What is the best strategy to address cybersecurity?