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Data Governance Challenges: Executing

Posted by Datasource on Feb 24, 2017 2:30:43 PM

Data Governance Implementation

By: Datasource

So far in this series on Data Governance, we’ve covered four critical elements including:

Data Governance Challenges: Understanding the Problem

Data Governance Challenges: Strategy

Data Governance Challenges: Organizing

Data Governance Challenges: Communicating

If you’ve missed any of these articles, feel free to follow the links above.

In this article, the final article in the series, we’ll cover your Data Governance Execution and Implementation plan. This is where the rubber truly hits the road. So, without further ado, let’s jump right into the fifth section on Data Governance – Data Governance Execution and Implementation Plan.



Tip #1: Business First, Then Technology

The first step in your Data Governance Implementation Plan will be to focus on the fundamentals and create a solid partnership between business and technology.

Many Data Governance Programs start within IT because IT is all about the data. However, the most successful Data Governance Programs are a partnership between the business and technology stakeholders. 

The central work of governance begins with addressing business challenges, not with finding solutions in technology. Master data, metadata, data quality, data architecture…all of these disciplines require a business context before moving to technology. 

In sports, we commonly hear references to “the fundamentals”. In this case, focus, is the core fundamental of our Data Governance Implementation plan. Yes, technology and tools will be necessary; however, focusing on the business case and developing the partnership is vital to success.

(For a quick case study, please watch the video on the right of the page.)

Tip #2: Pick a Project & Make it Real

On your marks! Get set! Go!

Up to this point planning, strategizing, forming councils and partnerships has been the priority.  It is time to shift that focus and concentrate on the Data Governance Implementation Plan. Reach out and find a project where you can show the fruits of your labor. 

For example, as you’re building your Data Governance Program, you may identify a need for metadata. At the same time you may identify a need to rebuild a particular data asset. By bringing metadata applications into that process you are provided with perfect opportunity to flex your Data Governance muscle and demonstrate a quick win.

While there are many opportunities to show value, it’s important to focus on one or two specific areas. This will help concentrate your Data Governance implementation efforts, deliver quick wins and avoid program fatigue. 

The Realities of Compliance Challenges & Regulated Industries


Compliance is an important factor as you look at your Data Governance Implementation Plan.  Compliance is becoming a bigger issue because fewer industries are left unregulated. Almost everything is coming under a higher degree of scrutiny; resulting, in higher levels of exposure and risk for companies. For example, exposing personally identifiable information (PII) and protected health information (PHI) can be costly to an organization in both reputation and dollars.

Today, we have a global economy. What this means is compliance & regulation are worldwide challenges. The United States is not alone. Business Intelligence & Data Warehouse systems (based in the US or elsewhere) are subject to exposure and the same regulatory scrutiny as source systems. Data is a potential threat to businesses if it isn’t managed well; and, if you are doing business internationally, you may be facing risks that can be even greater.

Where can Data Governance help?

Tip #3: Compliance & Business Intelligence

We all understand compliance and Business Intelligence go hand in hand. And, any article on building a Data Governance Program wouldn’t be complete without mentioning several tips on compliance and Business Intelligence; therefore, we’ve outlined several “Best Practices” below.

Align with your Compliance Program: Most companies have active compliance programs. It is in the best interest of the Data Governance Program to tie into your current compliance program. Better yet, if you have a Compliance Officer, recruit them to be part of your governance team. A Compliance Officer brings a wealth of experience to the team and can help guide your Data Governance Implementation Plan.

Integrate Compliance & Business Intelligence: Compliance policies (including active audit) should also be integrated in your Data Governance Program. Data assets change and grow over time and the integration with your compliance policies provides a frequent level of monitoring for your program.

Define Ownership: To help your compliance program succeed, it is important to clearly define ownership and accountability for data assets. Effectively accomplishing this task may be challenging because many organizations look at ownership of specific data assets differently; however, by defining ownership, it will be clear who will lead specific portions of the Data Governance Implementation Plan and who is responsible for the end result.

Compliance Training Program: Privacy around data (especially PII and PHI) is at an all-time high. It is a best practice to establish rigorous compliance training program for everyone who manages or interacts with data. Datasource Consulting has a very extensive training program focused on helping our team understand the unique rules and regulations that impact them on a daily basis.

Metadata Management & Compliance: It is a good practice to utilize metadata management for the identification and classification of potentially risk-inducing areas. Also, don’t forget to align security & access policies with metadata classification. Doing these two things will help to make sure you stay compliant.

An effective governance program should also consider the following best practices for managing risk with PII and/or PHI:

  • Metadata: Classification of Risk Detection (as mentioned above)
  • Masking, Anonymizing and De-Identification
  • Aggregation
  • Storage
  • Access & Security
  • And others…

All of these should be part of your Data Governance Program in some way and tie into your compliance program.

Data Governance Recap:

Over the past several articles we have covered a lot of ground with respect to Data Governance.  As you can see from the different articles, there are a lot of things to think about with respect to your program.  Below is a list of the topics we’ve covered as well as links to each of the individual articles:

  1. Data Governance Framework: an overview of the five components of a solid Data Governance Program.
  2. Understanding the Problem: how to understand the organization’s pain point and address them
  3. Strategy & Planning: developing a plan to focus on the pain points
  4. Organizing: how to recruit a dedicated cross-functional team of executive sponsors and governors who can help promote the message and do the hard work
  5. Communicating: using many vehicles to communicate the program, illustrate the value of what you’re doing, and showcase success
  6. Executing: deliver quick wins, early and often

Overall, the primary key to your Data Governance Program is to stay focused. Having a solid focus will help you recruit advocates, build momentum, stay compliant, and deliver short and long term wins for your company.

As a reminder, if you’d like us to evaluate your current Data Governance Program, or help you with your Data Governance Implementation, 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