Having a data-driven strategy has become imperative to the success of organizations regardless of industry, size, or location. Often overlooked however is that the key to these successful strategies lies in organizations' abilities to have a stern and reliable Data Governance strategy. This starts with being able to conceptualize and truly understand not only what Data Governance (DG) is but why it is a vital facet of strategy. This is one of the many things communicated in this video interview.
Question: When asking individuals about Data Management and Data Governance, some argue that they can be used interchangeably while others propose that there is a distinct difference between the two. Could you clarify?
Answer: Although the confusion is understandable, Data Governance is about the policies, procedures, and workflows that support the management of the information. DG falls more on the business side, whereas, Data Management falls more on the IT side, helping to enable Data Governance through technology.
Question: What would trigger someone to initiate someone to start implementing Data Governance strategy into their business?
Answer: There are three key drivers for DG: inactive, reactive, and proactive. An inactive status would be characterized as an organization that is not currently doing anything with Data Governance, but they know that they need to be. Although this is not as common because, in the data-driven environment, we’re in, most companies at minimum are doing something that pertains to Data Governance. Whether that is isolated to one department of the organization or one person, it is unlikely to find a business that doesn’t maintain some type of data dictionary or report. A reactive status would be classified as a company that is reacting to some type of regulatory compliance or concern such as CCPA or GDPR. This is common in industries such as retail, financial institutions, or in healthcare where having data policies and regulations in and around the usage of data couldn’t be more important. The proactive organizations are the ones that not only know they need Data Governance but understand that data is an asset and should be managed as such. These companies bring in organizations like CCG proactively to assist in stamping out a Data Governance committee or program enterprise-wide.
Question: What is the difference between Data Governance and Enterprise Data Governance.
Answer: Every organization has Data Governance but not every organization has an enterprise program. The true difference between just doing Data Governance and having an Enterprise Program is that Enterprise Programs include having a governing body that holds a set of employees accountable for the overall management of the data.
Question: Who does the data governing body consist of?
Answer: Every organization is different depending on the existing operating model, organizational structure, or appetite for Data Governance. It is often defined a little bit different for every business. In general, however, the program is enabled through a committee or council. This can be defined as a group of employees from across the organization including all of the different operational areas, to have an equal vote and contribution, of what is going to be enabled when it comes to data strategy.
Question: What is the makeup of the departments in the governing body?
Answer: A lot of times Data Governance is driven by IT because they are the ones who see the need for it every day. Often this is because IT departments take are held responsible for all things data, including when a bad report may be in the discussion. Although IT is often the team that calls for action, the governing body has an equal representation cross-departmentally. IT really steps back in to help with the enablement of the process.
Question: What does this committee do?
Answer: In the most ideal of situations an organization would already have an existing Data Governance Strategy and Roadmap in place. In the event that an organization does not, that would be the committee's first and arguably most important step. This can be done by identifying key things within the organization that you need to implement or enable in order to get their data under control. Generally, however, the committee will be writing the policies and procedures, ensuring adherence to the policies and procedures, developing workflows to support system development lifecycle patterns, and overseeing/managing the overall data strategy in general. They’re very much an authoritative and decision-making body, but they’re not as tactical.
Question: What would you say to an organization that may not think they have the technology to back a Data Governance Program.
Answer: Leading with technology is typically not the answer. Leading with policies, procedures, and workflows, often have better results. Ensuring that your organization is ready for Data Governance should be the first step before procuring an expensive technology. In lieu of technology, organizations can use SharePoint, Excel, or Microsoft word, to document different data elements without purchasing expensive technology right away.
Question: What would you say to someone who may be hesitant or intimidated to start a Data Governance program?
Answer: Where to start a Data Governance Program can be overwhelming because it involves anything from the inception of the data, consumption of the data, retention/disposition of the data. At CCG we recommend following a methodology and framework. Although we have our own proven framework, there’s a vast amount out there such as DAMA, CMMI, or AHIMA. Ultimately this allows organizations to follow a guide to tell them the areas they need to focus on. It is not recommended to just dig into one specific area, however. Looking at the whole picture and then doing a deeper dive is recommended to overcome challenges to data governance.
Question: What goes into a Data Governance Framework?
Answer: CCG’s Data Governance Framework focuses on five key areas that we have heard repeatedly around organizations as their biggest challenges as it pertains to Data Governance. These are:
Program Management – The governing body and who will be maintaining and managing the program
Metadata Management - The technology that will be used to support the program.
Data Architecture – The maturity of the organization currently and where they are hoping to be and how can we help you get there
Data Security and Privacy – The regulatory policies and procedures, making sure there is a retention and disposition plan, disaster recovery plan being enabled
Data Quality – Ensuring that there is a data quality program in place to solve the problems at their roots
Question: How do you get an organization started?
Answer: Wondering how to get started with data governance initiatives? CCG starts with a six-week quick assessment, also called an accelerator program. The whole intent is to get an organization stood up quickly. This starts with identifying the right people and looking at the four other framework components to assess the organization's readiness and then come up with a strategy based on the findings.
Question: What is “DG Fatigue”
Answer: Often organizations will have started and stopped Data Governance strategies repeatedly, ultimately leading them to become sick of it. Due to the complexity of truly tackling it and implementing a successful strategy many organizations first go around results in failed projects.
Question: What makes companies who have been experiencing “DG fatigue” excited to begin working on implementing a strategy again?
Answer: The answer is twofold. The first component is the speed at which we present a roadmap to companies. The second part is that the roadmap they’re provided is an actual representation of where the project is going to show to the rest of the organization.
It’s clear that there are a lot of working parts to implementing a true Data Governance Program and this may seem daunting to some organizations, especially those who have already gone through many iterations of trying to implement one. At CCG we know that this seems overwhelming but the framework we have in place to guide your organization to success can alleviate the problems that you’ve faced in the past. Click here to learn more about Data Governance or contact one of our experts at (813) 968-3238.
Written by CCG, an organization in Tampa, Florida, that helps companies become more insights-driven, solve complex challenges and accelerate growth through industry-specific data and analytics solutions. Last updated in October of 2021.