Are you being asked to create value from your data or need to educate your organisation, on why data is an asset to the business when managed correctly?
Do you know what you want/need to do with your data?
The most important challenge is figuring out what you want from you data.
Having a Data Governance Framework enables a planned and coordinated way to, identify responsibilities and ownership, and forming data into an asset which you can gain value from.
Abstract from the Data Governance Institute:
Data Governance can mean different things to different people. Adding to this ambiguity, governance and stewardship can be perceived as complicated endeavours. Frameworks help us organize how we think and communicate about complicated or ambiguous concepts. If your organization employs a framework, your people can more easily achieve clarity of thought and purpose. A framework can also help you succeed in realising value from your program and efforts and data.
A data governance framework consists of many things, including data quality, master data management, data security, ownership of data, conflict management, and stakeholder management, amongst other areas. What a company undertakes depends on the way it operates in terms of the systems & technology and, people and their maturity with understanding data management (structure and rules). The role of data determines a company’s data governance policy. Going back to my question of “Do you know what you want to do with your data?” Until you can answer that, you will be struggling with direction for any data initiative.
Data is like Water
IT is like the pipes, pumps and storage tanks of a plumbing system. Data is the information flowing through those pipes and being held in the storage tanks.
This is a great analogy I came across for explaining to people about data, what it is and why it is different to IT.
IT is just a “holder” of data – in the way that it manages the systems that store the data and provides “the pipework”. The real ownership lies with the business users. Hence, data governance frameworks should be solely driven by the users. A very strong participation from them is mandatory for the success of your data governance framework and subsequent programme activity, as it will need to touch all areas of the organisation ultimately – however, start small!
Mergers & Acquisitions
Having a good data governance framework is an asset during mergers & acquisitions and helps make the process easier. Many companies try to force their processes including data management onto the acquired company (I have first-hand experience of this, it does not work and has negative long term effects on your data, which can be costly to resolve). Having good data quality and governance makes this more feasible, and reduces change management efforts.
How to Create Your Framework
- Appoint a business champion to identify issues such as data quality, master data management, security issues in terms of access, reporting problems, especially if business intelligence is used, and time taken for manual massaging of data. The champion would need to collate all these points and propose them to the management to support the direction and action needed
- Set-up a data governance council or steering committee. The data governance framework can be implemented via the sponsorship and support from the council
- Run a pilot project, involving a single department this can be undertaken to demonstrate value.
Getting the involvement of the business is an art, as the business users are very busy people. A data governance framework is considered by them as an added burden, as there is no immediate return on investment. Hence, it is imperative to emphasize the value to get their participation. The level of interest generated is crucial. Once there is a buy in for the data governance framework, they will be willing to appoint people for these programs.
Frameworks come in all shapes and sizes, it is down to the identification of your needs and what you want to do with and gain from your data. Also the structure and culture of your organisation, on what is included in your data governance framework.
Image credit: World Bank Blogs – World Bank Group