UBC Theses and Dissertations
A survey of the data administration function in large Canadian organizations McCririck, Ian Bryce
The object of this study was to survey large Canadian organizations in order to: 1) determine the extent to which these organizations have established a separate Data Administration function, 2) empirically test Nolan's Stage Model of EDP Growth as a predictor of a separate Data Administration function, and 3) survey the characteristics of the Data Administration function in those organizations that have formally established such a speciality. A survey package containing two questionnaires was sent to 555 large Canadian organizations in the private and public sectors. The "EDP Profile Questionnaire" was directed to the Manager of the EDP Activity in the surveyed organizations. This questionnaire is concerned with the EDP growth process and the existence of a Data Administrator. The "Data Administration Questionnaire" was directed to the Data Administrator in the surveyed organizations. This questionnaire is concerned with the characteristics and responsibilities of the Data Administration function. Analysis was performed on 254 EDP functions and 69 Data Administration functions. The results obtained indicate that the Data Administration function is not prevalent in large Canadian organizations; where the function does exist its role is a fairly minor one within the EDP activity. This study found that organizations with very large EDP activities and many years of experience with computers were more likely to have established a Data Administration function than-smaller and less experienced ones. Certain organizational types (those with discretionary funds available) were more likely, to have a Data Administration function than other types. The "maturity" of the organization's EDP activity was not found to be- a good predictor of the existence of a Data Administrator. The sampled Data Administration functions exhibited a wide dispersion in both the activities performed and the amount of time spent on each. Few policy setting activities were performed by the Data Administrators. The Data Administration function appeared to be focused on those "data bases" using a Data Base Management System. Organizational conflicts and a general misunderstanding of the function by EDP Management have likely held back the development of the function beyond one involved primarily with the support of DBMS application systems. Future research should be directed at- understanding these conflicts and misperceptions through an analysis of the decision process involved in establishing the Data Administration function. An attempt- should be made to more fully understand the data resource and how it might differ among organizational types. Before further use is made of Nolan's Stage Growth model, serious thought should be given to determining in more precise terms what the EDP growth process variables are and how they might best be measured.
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