My Com­ple­te Care­er was around and about Data Manage­ment

My pas­si­on for data manage­ment star­ted 1999 when I worked for PwC and was mem­ber of a lar­ge pro­ject team re-engi­nee­ring busi­ness pro­ces­ses for all Gene­ral Motors plants in Euro­pe. In this con­text, I got on touch with a guy in Rüs­sels­heim, Ger­ma­ny, who was respon­si­ble for the mate­ri­al mas­ter data cycle for GM. Unfor­tu­n­a­te­ly, I can­not remem­ber his name, but what I remem­ber is that he was con­stant­ly in bad mood – becau­se ever­yo­ne in the com­pa­ny was approa­ching him com­p­lai­ning about poor mas­ter data qua­li­ty.

I rea­li­zed that mas­ter data has an impact on liter­al­ly every busi­ness pro­cess in an orga­niz­a­ti­on and, thus, it has to be mana­ged in an enter­pri­se-wide man­ner.

From PwC I moved to Fraun­ho­fer IAO whe­re I did my PhD on elec­tro­nic busi­ness stan­dards, i.e. defi­ning infor­ma­ti­on and data models for elec­tro­nic cata­log data (such as BME­cat) and XML-based tran­sac­tion data. Then I joi­ned SAP whe­re I was invol­ved with – by that time inter­nal – plat­form busi­ness, which came along in the form of Net­Wea­ver. I hel­ped lar­ge SAP cus­to­mers to imple­ment this pro­cess and data inte­gra­ti­on infra­st­ruc­tu­re and lear­ned what it needs for a cross-func­tion to be suc­cess­ful. As we know, Data Manage­ment is also cross cut­ting all busi­ness units etc.

Then I moved to Switz­er­land and was very hap­py to see that dis­cus­sions were ongo­ing at Hubert Österle’s chair to make cor­po­ra­te data qua­li­ty the next hot topic. The­re was no need to con­vin­ce me as you know…

After my habi­li­ta­ti­on at the Uni­ver­si­ty of St. Gal­len, I am now hol­ding the Chair for Indus­tri­al Infor­ma­ti­on Manage­ment at TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­ty and I am hea­ding Fraun­ho­fer ISST. I took what I lear­ned from cor­po­ra­te-inter­nal data manage­ment to the next level, i.e. data sharing in eco­sys­tems.

Tog­e­ther with Prof. Dr. Chris­ti­ne Leg­ner and Prof. Dr. Hubert Öster­le I am one of the co-foun­ders of the Com­pe­tence Cen­ter Cor­po­ra­te Data Qua­li­ty (CC CDQ) . Out of this rese­arch endea­vor grew the idea to pro­vi­der pro­fes­sio­nal ser­vices and soft­ware solu­ti­ons to ensu­re best data qua­li­ty in a com­pa­ny. Thus, with a team of other data enthu­si­ast I foun­ded CDQ AG and sin­ce 2015 I am a mem­ber of the super­vi­so­ry board. It is very inte­res­ting to obser­ve – and being part – of the evo­lu­ti­on in terms of matu­ri­ty the data topic under­went over all the­se years.

Using Data Sharing in the Best Way

I tru­ly belie­ve Data Sharing will be the key for future busi­ness suc­cess. Why? Well, sim­ply becau­se busi­ness inno­va­ti­on is only pos­si­ble in many cases if data from dif­fe­rent ori­gins is used tog­e­ther. We see that all over the place, be it mobi­li­ty, smart cities, ener­gy etc. We all have to fur­ther matu­re our data pro­fes­si­on, becau­se with data sharing new chal­len­ges come along. Examp­les are data ethics, data eco­no­mics and data owners­hip and lia­bi­li­ty.

The­se topics are also on our agen­da in the Inter­na­tio­nal Data Spaces initia­ti­ve, which aims at data sov­er­eig­n­ty for busi­nes­ses and indi­vi­du­als ali­ke. If data is the source of future com­pe­ti­ti­ve advan­ta­ge, we should be able to con­trol who is doing what for which pur­po­se with our data. This is what the IDS archi­tec­tu­re sup­ports. It is based on a peer-to-peer data sharing approach and does not requi­re any cen­tral data sto­rage. From the ear­ly days of the initia­ti­ve, com­pa­nies were eager to make sure they are not for­ced to dump their data into a cen­tral data lake of which nobo­dy knows who is fishing in it.

Text by: Prof. Dr. Boris Otto, Mana­ging Direc­tor of Fraun­ho­fer ISST and Depu­ty Chair­man of the IDSA Board