Information Governance: what is the role of Business Semantics in a commercial organisation

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About Information Governance: what is the role of Business Semantics in a commercial organisation


Information is the lifeblood of any modern-day business. Companies succeed and falter based on the reliability, availability and security of their data. A corporation’s capacity to govern information depends upon a variety of factors, including engaged executives and a company culture that supports collective ownership of information. However, strategically created enterprise-wide frameworks that define how information is controlled, accessed and used are arguably the most critical elements in a successful information management programme. The Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by EMC, conducted a survey of 192 senior executives around the world in 2008, which showed over sixty percent of multi-nationals did not have a formal enterprise-wide information governance strategy in place. For the purposes of this report, those frameworks, and the mechanisms that enforce them, are referred to as Information Governance.

The difficulty in creating a formal information governance framework and enforcing it originates from the lack of standards and tooling in this area. (Ad-hoc) standards or tooling may exist for documenting the separate components of information, but a cohesive framework is yet to be developed. Khatri & Brown have suggested a framework for Data Governance , based on studies by Weill & Ross , which can be used to formalize how data is controlled, accessed and used. Data however, is a collection of facts, which can be interpreted differently in an organization, depending on the persons handling the data or during its lifecycle during a business process. This framework therefore lacks support for a complete enterprise-wide solution for Information Governance.

Where data governance focuses on assigning responsibility of data assets in a organization, information governance assigns information assets in an organization. Information assets include data objects along with the business rules which give meaning to those objects.

This thesis contains the beginning of a framework for Information Governance, by naming and explaining the component of Information Governance. This thesis also will also discuss some of the most used semantic standards, which can be used to make use of the framework. Finally this thesis will answer the question how semantics can be used for a mathematic approach of Information Governance, therefore making it possible to automate the enforcement process or at least document information governance in a structured way.