- Say what data should and, more importantly, should not be stored in the cloud. This will help you avoid a discovery problem, a PCI audit, a HIPAA or FERPA or (name your favorite acronym) compliance problem.
- Be the custodian of the meaning of data. You know, little things such as "What's a customer?" or "What's the significance of an overdue Severity 1 Case?"
- Establish naming conventions and trees for files, directories and other hierarchical relationships, such as "parent account" vs. "operating division."
- Serve as the gatekeeper for imports and data that flows across systems, making sure that semantics don't get blurred and that pollution sources are filtered or corrected at the source.
- Develop the right procedures for backups, record merges or the creation of parent-child relationships. You wouldn't believe how many ways there are to get this wrong-and how many weeks of wasted effort can occur due to a well-intentioned error.
- Validate the results of reports, making sure the right variables have been used for filtering, grouping and rollups. Too often, different vice presidents base their decisions on totally different data, causing no end of confusion.
Analysis: Who Owns CRM Data at Your Company?
The good news is that data stewardship isn't a full-time job. The bad news is that the data steward has to have a pretty good range of political and technical savvy. Typically, this is a position you should recruit for inside, rather than outside. If you can't find one person to do it, have a pair of people who are rotated into and out of the position no more often than once a year.
But data stewardship is only half the battle.
Lesson 3: Since the Cloud Replaces Internal IT, It Must Be Managed Like IT
Users tend to think of a cloud purchase as a "solution." No more hard work until renewal time. What's going through their heads? "See, we skipped the need for IT and all that overhead!"
The moment they start to take a cloud system seriously, though, users want mash-ups, custom code and the capability to drag and drop items from the desktop. They want to integrate with other data sources inside and outside the company. Executives want reports and dashboards.
In other words, everyone will want the leverage and efficiency of an IT system. Those benefits only come when there's an architect and a "general contractor" working together, not just a "workman."