How to manage responsibility in the organisation for data culture

With data culture becoming the norm and ‘technical debt’ an issue, what are the market drivers investment firms need to know to shine a light in these areas?

Fund Operator Editor POSTED ON 6/15/2022 2:03:07 PM

Mary-Patricia Hall, Data and Reporting Manager, Ruffer LLP (L) and Arthur Melkonian, Chief Operating Officer, Equinox Partners.

Office politics about which department controls specific operational procedures is nothing new but the overlap in data processes and architecture means several parts of the company see their needs as pressing in the area. How should a company overcome this?

In a Clear Path Analysis webinar, in association with FINBOURNE Technology, “Clearing the technical debt of the past to future proof the investment industry”, several panellists including Mary-Patricia Hall, Data and Reporting Manager, Ruffer LLP and Arthur Melkonian, Chief Operating Officer, Equinox Partners, discussed where responsibility for overseeing data architecture should sit in an organisation and how to make sure it isn't siloed.

“I have had to deal with this in a few different companies. The best thing to do is to take it out of technology,” said Mary-Patricia Hall, Data and Reporting Manager, at Ruffer LLP. “It doesn’t work great in technology because everyone [else in the company] then feels that it is technology’s problem. If you have market data, it always ends up in technology even though they are clearly not the people you want going out and negotiating those issues or even tracking these elements and discussing them with research.”

Hall says a company needs to have various champions of these matters within the business that sit outside of technology or IT departments. “At the same time, you must also link heavily with technology. This is an internal political problem, but you can shift it so that it becomes a cultural issue,” she said.

Arthur Melkonian, Chief Operating Officer, Equinox Partners, said that he found that, over time, creating transparency was a key to effective management. “Letting everyone on the team realise and know how the sausage is made, regardless of their department, mitigates a lot of the unknowns, questions, and frustrations,” he says.

Hall added these types of projects of reversing the "ghettoisation" of data culture were one of her main work responsibilities and if done correctly, opened new doors for the company. “I am not in IT, but rather the business owner for data technology,” she said. “I now have someone who is a specialist in Python and SQL working in my data governance team, but we report to the Chief Operating Officer. We try to keep a really close relationship with them, but then we go out and spread the word as well.”

The collaborative and inclusive approach to the company’s data culture was roundly praised by the panellists as an effective way of increasing productivity and helping better team management. “It helps people to see that something may be very complicated and mission critical and that there are reasons why it takes so long for it to get done,” Melkonian said.

To read more of this discussion and see the report in full, click here.


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