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The Decision Factor offers insightful comments and observations on analytics—from views on new technology approaches and market dynamics to the latest industry trends driving demand for faster, smarter information analysis. This blog contains personal views, thoughts, and opinions from SAP employees, mentors, and friends working in the area of analytics. It’s not endorsed by SAP nor does it constitute an official communication of SAP.


Governance for Your Cloud Applications

There are all types of applications available in the cloud today, including ones focused on customers, sourcing and suppliers, HR, business networks, analytics, and full business processing with ERP. So, where do governance and information programs fit within these cloud applications?

Ina Felsheim does a great job of talking about governance, including what it does for you and what happens if you don’t have governance. And if you follow her on Decision Factor or Twitter, you’ll see she talks about governance as having many entry points: information discovery (knowing what you have today), analysis projects, data migration, and master data projects, among others. These same starting points apply to your cloud applications.

Three Scenarios for Governance with Cloud Applications

If you haven’t already included cloud applications as a stakeholder for information governance, then the integration touchpoints are a good place to start. Let’s explore three different scenarios.

1. Implementing a new cloud application, such as customer and sales

The cloud application may provide features to migrate or upload data. However, you’ll probably be responsible for extracting, perhaps mapping, and ensuring you’re loading ”good” data. Typical migration activities that include governance are cleansing, merging customer records from multiple source systems, and ensuring all customer data follows the business rules (for example, every customer requires two contacts with email and address information).

2. A cloud application is in place, but currently no one considers governance important for that application

If new orders are coming in, customers are generally satisfied, and sales are shipping, then why do you need governance? In this case, the governance team should at least consider the cloud application as a stakeholder. When looking at KPI’s, data rules, and assessment of data quality over time, the cloud application data should be included. It could be the cloud application data is trending better because sales people are constantly keeping customer data relevant to the opportunities. Conversely, it might just appear to be okay, but when you look at deliveries and how the customer data compares to the expected quality, it doesn’t meet expectations.

3. The cloud application needs to integrate with an on-premise application, such as sales order information

Integration with on-premise applications should always be included with governance programs. You want to ensure that cloud data adheres to corporate policies and that the data itself remains clear and transparent. Your data may originate and live in the cloud, but that doesn’t mean it should be cloudy data!

Look at your governance initiatives, including your key data domains, and make sure all related cloud applications are included in your program!