Don’t drown your data governance programme

Data governance seems to have made the transaction from a niche requirement for highly regulated industries, such as banks, to a mainstream discipline across multiple industries. In South Africa, we are seeing the beginnings of data governance programs in industries ranging from mining, to retail, to utilities and telecommunications.

In some cases, these governance programmes are being  put in place to support enterprise MDM or similar data intensive projects, but in many cases they are being driven by the realisation that the impact of uncoordinated, dysfunctional or ad hoc data improvement project is exposing the business to unnecessary risk and cost.

What most of these initiatives have in common is that they have a strong focus on the administrative aspects of data governance – defining policies, roles, structure, and the like, but frequently do not focus on the technical and business aspects that must also be addressed.

In many cases, this leads to a loss of interest from nominated data stewards and other business stakeholders, as the administrative aspects consume resources and energy without necessarily delivering tangible results.

The administrative aspects of data governance are important, but they should not be allowed to become overwhelming.

As discussed in Trillium Software’s Data Governance eBook, there are three pillars to data governance that must be coordinated in order to achieve business benefits.

The business pillar must focus on the business centric activities that ensure the alignment data governance to achieving business objectives – these include business processes, business rules, metrics and stewardship.

Technical data governance puts the tools in place to enable the business objectives – data quality, metadata management, data modelling and the like.

A balanced approach supporting all three pillars is necessary to properly understand business requirements, develop sensible strategies and ensure that the right skills, people and groups are involved at the right time in order to deliver the tangible results that are necessary to maintain interest.

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