As the worldwide banking crisis continues to escalate, one has to wonder-where was the Business Intelligence in all of this? What happened to Data Quality and Data Management?
First, we had the interesting revelation that the individual banks and lending institutions all seemed to be blissfully unaware of the extent to which they were exposed by lending in the sub-prime mortgage market. It's difficult to imagine how the information available to decision makers in these companies could have been so scarce or so uninformative. Most, if not all, financial institutions have had extensive and expensive data warehouses in place for many years now. Business Intelligence should easily have warned of the dangers. Was the increasing level of risk unmeasured, overlooked or simply ignored?
More recently, we've had the spectacle of banks being unwilling to extend short-term lending facilities to one another for fear that the borrowing institutions could go belly-up in the next few days! Could the lenders not know? Unfortunately, in this case, the answer is probably that they couldn't. Despite the fact that the worldwide financial market is tightly and instantly interconnected at a transaction level, the truth is that the underlying data remains disconnected and dispersed. Data Management and Data Quality have simply not been considered. Proper business governance in the financial markets as a whole is impossible without a well-defined and credible data foundation.
So, assuming that we can survive the crisis without a meltdown, what has been happening should be a clarion call to Data Management professionals in the financial industry particularly but also beyond. We need to recognize the interconnected and increasingly fragile web of data dependencies that hold the business world together. It's time to get out there and apply the principles we know and preach already. And we had better get moving quickly.
Posted September 28, 2008 7:52 PM
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