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Data Governance Challenges: Organizing

Posted by Datasource on Feb 24, 2017 2:29:59 PM

Data Governance Organizing

By: Datasource

How visible is your Data Governance program?  Do you have the right levels of support to effectively drive your program?  Does everyone in the organization know what is transpiring around them?  Part four of our continuing series on Data Governance focuses on establishing the Data Governance Council and involving the right key players to help drive the Data Governance initiative.  Having the right key players on your team will help shine a spot light on the Data Governance program and sustain the momentum.



Tip #1: Executive Sponsorship


As we know, Data Governance impacts everyone in the organization, and the more visible your Data Governance program is at the top of the organization, the more likely you are going to have success.  While this reasoning would lead us to believe we’d have a line of eager volunteers clamoring over the opportunity to be a contributing member of our program, the reality is not everyone will be the right fit.  We are looking for a chosen few who recognize the impact of a Data Governance program and have a vested interest. 

Below are five simple reminders that will help you develop your team:

  • Cast a Wide Net: We need to cast a net that is broad enough to find sponsors from across the key functional areas of the business. The diversity will help keep the project moving forward and ensure we haven’t left out any critical areas of the business.
  • Alignment: Make sure sponsors are aligned with and support your goals. One sponsor could easily derail the entire program.
  • Champion: Identify one sponsor who can champion the work.  Sometimes data governance will be assigned to a particular owner in the business who is also on the steering committee.  Having a single point of contact helps, because on a day to day basis you are likely to find needs, and be required to make critical decisions that can’t wait for the next steering committee or sponsors meeting.  Finding someone who is a champion of the initiative will be worth their weight in gold.
  • Educate sponsors: Data Governance is not intuitive.  Most MBA programs don’t have a chapter titled Data Governance 101.  So you will need to educate people.
  • Why: Make sure Executive Sponsors understand the “why” of what you’re doing.  If you can spell it out, draw the right pictures, put it in the appropriate context, and solve problems, you’ll be more successful with your sponsors.

Following these five tips will help you develop solid Executive Sponsorship support and target key players to be part of your Data Governance Council.

Tip #2: Data Governance Council


The process you’ll use to identify your Data Governance Council will be very similar to the process you just followed to identify your Executive Sponsors: Cast a Wide Net, Alignment, Champion, etc., all of these elements will play a part in selecting the right team and maintaining momentum.  Just remember, have members from different areas of the business.  This promotes quality collaboration and fair representation.

Secondly, set the appropriate level of expectations and time commitments for your Data Governance Council.  Anyone who has been involved in a school project with their kids realizes how quickly a “simple” project can turn into an all-day affair.  Be considerate of your volunteers and provide them with a clear understanding of what will be expected.  Make sure they understand that being part of the Data Governance Council, while it looks great on a resume, involves showing up for meetings and, more importantly, performing the work.

Lastly, remember that your Data Governance Council may need to find some dedicated staff to handle parts of your program.  You will find at some point in the maturity of your program that you will need at least a good governance expert and/or someone with program management skills that can keep the trains running on time.  There is a lot of work that needs to be done and a lot of moving parts to a Data Governance Program.  Having the dedicated resources to keep things on track can be invaluable.

Tip #3: Culture Change


Peter Drucker said, “If you want to start doing something new, you have to stop doing something old.”  This sounds pretty basic, however, it’s easier said than done.  In a previous article in this series, Data Governance Challenges: Strategy & Planning, we covered Data Silos and highlighted how involving “Data Silo Managers” in the Data Governance Program helps them to relinquish control over their data-marts.

A good Data Governance Program will also change the company culture. The culture change (or culture shock, depending on to whom you speak) falls into many different categories including:

  • Use: How you use, share, and act on data to drive the business
  • Ownership: Who owns and manages the data
  • Governing: Applying principles and controls to govern data
  • Prioritization: How priorities are established as data needs change
  • Definitions: What definitions are used for key business terminology and calculations

All of these things will impact the culture of how companies consume information.

In our next article, we’ll move from the Data Governance Council to Communication. Put on your marketing hat and begin broadcasting your message.

As a reminder, if you’d like us to evaluate your current Data Governance Program and help your Data Governance Council, please contact us by phone at 888-453-2624 or through the form on our contact us page.

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Topics: Data Governance, Blog

Written by Datasource