Recognition of the need to manage the data life cycle and improve information quality is non disputable. Yet initiating and executing an effective program is a low probability. Factors such as investment, technology, organization readiness, complexity and ambiguity of objectives are obstacles. Scope of the data governance initiative frequently tends to be broad; at least broad enough to delay positive results.
Industry talking heads go on and on about change management being the major critical success factor. What we do know is that change of process and organization is challenging, especially when the scope spans organization silos and structures. My view is that it takes more effort to syndicate and sell data governance and the practices that drive it then it does to develop the tools such as workflow, policies, data profiling, etc..
Recognizing this dilemma an iterative approach is worth considering. Revolution never really works, evolution is a more organic process for an entity. Not only from a process view but a political view as the realization of a success drives investment for larger more complex follow on efforts.
Our suggestion is to be strategic in defining a data governance program. Apply it to high value information sources which align with a specific business process. There must be return to the business and measurement must be positive. Doing so entails an understanding of the data to ascertain what is valuable and what can be overlooked. Understanding information flow and lineage is the vehicle which drives this assessment. Dogmatism has no place in the 21st century business model, being lean and adaptive is the driver. A multi year effort to improve accuracy and consistency of data will not fly.
This may resonate with you, as this position is logical. Yet defining the scope and context of the data governance initiative is only as good as the high level problem definition and understanding of the enabling business processes. Going forward, keep it small, make sure it is targeted and most importantly achievable.
Marc Hurst, a Managing Director from HPSquared LLC, offers insight based on his systems and data architecture experience. He has consulted across many industries as a management consultant and a systems integrator. Marc can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Filed under: data governance, data management, data quality, information strategy, master data management, project management | Tagged: CIO, data, data management, data quality, governance, iterative data management, MDM | 1 Comment »