Treading water in your data efforts?

How do you know if your efforts are working or are you treading water and getting nowhere?

Data Governance (DG) is the most difficult area of the business to work in (in my view).  When all is working and no issues are causing problems, your efforts go unnoticed.  When issues arise and things go wrong Data Governance is the first area to blame – processes don’t work, you are not controlling this properly! Sound familiar?

To demonstrate to the business, that your efforts and the investment in DG is benefiting the business, in reducing costs and increasing revenue. You need to implement metrics.  This enables the business to understand and see the improvement you are making.  Where to start and what to measure????

Firstly understand what are your issues, goals and the impacts of resolving the issues.

For example:

Issue – Regularity compliance, time consuming and inaccurate.

Goal – Reduce compliance payment amounts and time to compile submission, by using accurate data and a defined approved process.

Impact – Improved reporting accuracy. Reduced costs and time to comply. Improved reputation with auditors.

This helps define the metrics as you identify what your issues are and the impact. This draws out what needs to change / by improved. In the above example:


  • Cost reduction
  • Effort required to comply
  • Time to submit
  • Accuracy of data
  • Number and frequency of audit visits

Suggestions for Metrics for you to use in your initiatives


  • Number of data owners identified vs number of domains1
  • DG / process adoption rate by business personnel – via a survey1
  • Time in DG meetings reviewing and prioritising issues
  • Number of people trained in new system/process


  • Number of data issues identified
  • Existence of and adherence to a business request escalation process to manage disputes regarding data issues
  • Number of issues escalated to DG Committee
  • Time from issue identification to resolution
  • Number of approved and implemented standards, policies, and processes1
  • Number of published data definitions1
  • Integration of processes into the project lifecycle process to ensure DG oversight of key initiatives1
  • Increased efficiency of projects and new project initiation set-up1
  • Time to market for new products
  • Time to be live on the system with all data completed and verified


  • Number of data sources consolidated1
  • Number of data targets using mastered data1
  • Number of local spreadsheets used1
  • Number of data fields traceable from source to use
  • Number of unique identifiers1
  • Number of duplicate products
  • Number of SKU’s live
  • % of data validated at source
  • % of data validated at Central Distribution Centre
  • Number of variances between data validated at source and CDC
  • Number of business terms mapped to data models and objects1
  • % completion of attributes1
  • % completion of lineage1
  • % completion of glossary1
  • Improved reporting efficiency and accuracy1

Actual Value Identified1

  • Reduce call centre agent time searching for client information from 5 min to 2 min
    • Improved productivity could enable 1-2 people to be reassigned to other high value activities
    • Improved Customer Satisfaction with improved call handling time
  • Improved marketing effectiveness
    • Productivity improvement of 5–10% would enable marketing team to increase number of executed campaigns
  • Reduce sales rep commission reconciliation from 3 days/month to 3 hours/month

Customer Experience1

  • Direct Mail
    • Cost Savings = Cost per mail piece * Number of returned mail pieces
    • Cost Savings = Time to manually remediate mailing list * Cost for Employee
  • Email
    • Cost Savings = Cost per outbound email * Number of bounced emails
    • Cost Savings = Time to manually remediate mailing list * Cost for Employee


Give consideration on how you will present your metrics.  They need to be clear and informative with minimal explanation. Use primary colours for best impact.  There are many posts and websites on Data Visualisation to research. With excel being such a powerful tool, this may be all you need to demonstrate your progress to your stakeholders.

What metrics have you used to measure your success and how successfully were they received?

1Metrics curtesy of John Ladley IMCue Solutions

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