What is the role of data processing in business organizations? What sort of structures are involved with managing and controlling data processing?
Data processing is central to both day-to-day operations and long term strategic planning for most businesses. Data processing is integrated into every aspect of most businesses from accounting to marketing and from internal communications to manufacturing process control. Big data can be used to find strategic business opportunities and monitor consumer and business trends that might impact different aspects of a company's inputs, valuation, or products. Because data processing is a mission critical function, it is crucial for it to be within the purview of executives rather than just technical experts.
Some companies have a Chief Information Officer or CIO, an executive in charge of data and data processing on a company wide level. In other companies, data processing may fall under a COO or other member of the executive team.
There are two different philosophies of management of data processing. The first, common in both the mainframe era and in modern cloud computing, emphasizes centralized control of data and modes of accessing data so that information can be seamlessly available across a corporation. This approach often emphasizes standardization of software, hardware, and data formats and has the advantages of interoperability, information sharing, ease of maintenance, and information security.
On the other hand, centralized decisions are often inflexible, forcing teams or projects to use methods or systems not ideally configured for their projects. Also, centralized systems often are slower to adapt to new technology than small teams. Thus some corporations allow some degree of distributed decision making and data management and processing at a team or division level.