While data governance has been a business need for years, it is becoming more visible as a center-stage business concern. Driving this shift are new regulations and new requirements addressing consumer data ownership, privacy, and business data monetization. Two of the most important regulations are the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision regulation 239 (BCBS 239). Forrester recognized this change three years ago when we described the evolution of data governance away from “data  input  quality” toward “data usage,” which we call data governance 2.0. Some emerging data governance solution vendors, like Collibra and GDE, have moved aggressively to address the new requirements of data governance 2.0. However, larger established vendors like IBM, Informatica, SAS, and SAP have moved more slowly, instead prioritizing investments in developing a platform supporting systems of insight.

Two recently announced acquisitions demonstrate that the larger established vendors now recognize the need for renewed data governance offerings:

  • Informatica’s purchase of the Diaku Axon platform. Announced on February 22, the acquisition of the Diaku Axon platform adds business-oriented capabilities like vertical knowledge (finance) and support of regulations such as GDPR and BCBS 239 to Informatica’s current data governance execution capabilities (DQ, MDM, security/masking).
  • The purchase of Data3sixty by data and analytics software provider Infogix. Data3sixty was one of the most interesting and promising data governance stewardship vendors, providing collaboration between internal and external parties with collaboration that is more than process-based. The vendor mainly serves the finance market due to its founders’ expertise in the asset management space. Infogix is already going further than just providing technical DQ by providing business solutions to serve finance, healthcare, insurance, and media businesses. By joining Infogix, Data3sixty will get the needed level of investment to boost its development and address new concerns such as data monetization and data traceability — important to financial compliance requirements.

There are more to come that we are aware of but which are not yet public. These purchases indicate that platform vendors are moving from technical data governance to business-oriented data governance — going further toward business users, providing more value than just saving costs, and becoming a clear differentiator worthy of investment. We expect to see more acquisition activity, in line with businesses’ need to address a new consumer data protection regime, and business desire to monetize their data assets.

Expect to see more consolidation in the data governance market. Data governance support for the world of big data is becoming a hot topic to support new uses of data such as machine learning, AI, predictive analytics, or even prescriptive analytics. But there are several questions about the priorities for future investments:

  • Will big data management platform vendors invest not only in technologies but also in vertical knowledge, and will they translate this knowledge into the right dashboards for a new type of stakeholder: the data privacy officer? These dashboards will be different for a consumer packaged goods firm, telco, or utility company. Today, they let partners (consulting companies) implement this IP on top of their technical products.
  • Will big data management platform vendors expand the understanding of data governance to new domains such as privacy (not only GDPR/compliance support), data monetization (allowing contractualization between parties), or the applicability domain (how a data set complies to algorithms)? There are new features to support these entirely new domains; for the moment, most of the vendors are still relying on existing features (such as common lineage) rather than innovating around what is useful for new DG stakeholders.
  • Will big data management platform vendors start to market the new data governance model to the new stakeholders? They need to evangelize DG 2.0 to more businesspeople, not just decision makers or IT folks. Many of their clients have difficulties explaining the new data governance scope internally and struggle to get the right level of investment. Instead, they turn to limited data governance projects in silos to enterprisewide DG. It’s the fault of large vendors if data governance is still stuck in a technical box because they continue to make their marketing messages about cost savings and metadata repository/business glossary.

There’s no doubt that the battle is only beginning — these purchases do not represent the end of the data governance war.