Enforcing Policy: Hitting The Notes

April 27, 2016 Tyler Warden

Image_Hitting Notes

One of the top choirs in the world is the Los Angeles Master Chorale – a professional chorus out of Los Angeles that performs a robust and wide-ranging repertoire ranging from classical masterpieces to original works each year. During his time as Music Director, Paul Salamunovich refined the choir’s signature sound by using what he calls a “pyramid blend” approach by starting with the lowest voices in the choir, the basses and then building the sound up, moving higher in register. This approach sets the basses as the foundation; layers on top the tenors, then altos and finally sopranos giving the choir a rich, full sound. It also gives the choir the ability to produce over-tones or additional pitches that are audible over the chord the choir is singing. By setting a foundation and building a top layer-upon-layer of complexity and richness, the choir achieves a unique sound that brings with it the overtones and qualities that makes the choir unique.

Working in harmony with the setting of data policies and the enforcement of those policies creates a focused and efficient approach to information governance. A strategic, timely and well thought out set of policies will have very little impact on the value of your data if those policies are not enforced. Technology, people and process must be applied to your data to ensure that the data adheres to the policies and the proper corrective action is taken if it does not. By enforcing policy at the most foundational level of data, the systems built and decisions made based on that data can be created and made with confidence.

Choosing the Right Method

Enforcing data policies is an easy phrase to type, but in reality it can be a challenge to take from idea to realization. Of the many factors to consider, one of the first is choosing the right enforcement method for the type, location and stage of data along its journey.

The enforcement techniques used when data needs to be migrated from one system to another will differ from the methods used when data is in a more static repository, such as a data warehouse. The type of data, whether master, transactional, configuration, social or any other type of data, will also factor into the decisions around enforcement methods. The method that is appropriate needs to be able to meet the enforcement needs while also factoring in the cost of the techniques in relation to the current and prospective value of the data.

Giving Users What They Need

Beyond looking at the data itself when choosing an enforcement method, there is the needs of the organizations and the people involved in the enforcement that need to be considered in the decision-making.

Matching technique and tooling to where the user base is today and where they are going is key to achieving the type of organic adoption often necessary for data initiatives to take hold and remain sticky.

Some users may prefer a passive approach when working with and adhering to data policies, only needing to be notified and monitored with a low-touch approach to their daily tasks, while others may prefer a more active approach to policy enforcement that serves as a new touch point with data and responsibility of their roles. 

By enforcing policies at the base level of data, a solid data foundation is created. From there, more advanced and layered data movement, reporting and intelligence can be layered on top of the base enforcement to bring additional value and richness to the insight coming from the data. When everything is working together, from the setting of policy at the top down through to the solid foundation of enforcement, the power of data can be unlocked beyond what is expected to what it can be.

"The foundation is built on the male voices . . . I don't allow the sopranos to override them. I take the growl out of the basses and the ping out of the tenors. It's a kinder, gentler tone that says 'I love you.' "

― Paul Salamunovich

Want to learn more about hitting the right notes when enforcing policies for your information governance initiatives? Join us at SAPPHIRE NOW on May 17th – 19th and come celebrate our 20 Years of Data Excellence.

About the Author

Tyler Warden

As VP of Solution Management, Tyler drives the market facing initiatives and direction for all BackOffice software including developing and supporting the go to market strategy, field sales efforts, customer and prospect needs, as well as overall market direction of the BackOffice software portfolio. In his time at BackOffice, Tyler has worked in all areas of R&D as well as at customer sites giving him a unique perspective on the needs of the Information Governance market and the current and future needs of customers.

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