Developing a Profession
A formal data management profession must be created, like civil engineering, accounting, medicine, and so on, to effectively and efficiently manage a critical resource. Creating a profession begins with a formal initiative that provides a clear vision about what is to be achieved. The initiative for a formal data management profession is To establish a formal, certified, recognized, and respected data management profession.
The critical part of the initiative is managing data as a critical resource of the organization. A data management profession cannot be created without recognizing data as a critical resource. The data resource is not yet an asset, as explained earlier. Managing data as a critical resource may, eventually, lead to it being considered as an asset of the organization. It’s the financial professionals that determine data to be an asset of the organization, not the data management professionals.
Formalizing the Profession
A formal data management profession must have basic construct for managing the data resource. Recognizing the role of the data resource within an overall information technology infrastructure is a good first step. Recognizing the Zachman Framework is a good second step. The Common Data Architecture, with its concepts, principles, and techniques, is a third good step. A formal profession must have an established curriculum, in many educational institutions, leading toward a recognized degree in data resource management. Many educational institutions have a curriculum in information management, information science, and information technology. But few have a curriculum in data resource management. Without an established curriculum and degree, there can be no profession.
A formal profession must have acceptable standards that promote managing data as a critical resource. Standards do exist in data management; however, many of those standards are incomplete, confusing, and conflicting. These standards do not constitute formal data resource management standards. A formal profession must have a base of formal, clear, non-conflicting standards. A formal profession must have professional journals. Many excellent journals exist for data resource management. However, the articles in these journals often deal with current hype-cycles, lexical challenges, and day-to-day details. Few articles are found for formally managing data as a critical resource of the organization.
A formal profession must have a prestigious professional organization that leads the initiative toward developing a formal profession. That professional organization must have a membership that represents a predominance of people in the formal profession. Currently DAMA International and the DAMA International Education and Research Foundation hold that position. However, considerable work needs to be done to gain a much wider representation of data management professionals.