Global Data Strategy Newsletter
Welcome to the Global Data Strategy newsletter. This quarterly newsletter will provide you with updates on data management topics, trends, and insights from around the globe.
Data Governance: The Future is Already Here
Data Governance is a hot topic in the data management industry. As I write this article a new survey of over 100 UK based data management professionals (1) has just been published. One of its key findings is that organisations who, by their own self admission, are ‘extremely poor’ at managing, using and exploiting their data all cite one main reason as the main barrier to better data – a lack of effective data governance. In the same survey, around half of organisations who claim to manage their data more effectively stated that the primary impediment to further improvement was a lack of skills & experience in data governance.
By Nigel Turner, Principal Consultant, EMEA
So it’s clear that data governance is increasingly being recognised as a ‘must have’ data management discipline. But what is data governance? A simple definition is that it is a continuous process of managing and improving data for the benefit of all the stakeholders of that data. To make this happen data governance is founded on some fundamental principles:
Data Governance is also becoming a central topic in many data conferences. Last month I had the pleasure of speaking at a major governance event. It was the annual joint British Computer Society (BCS) and Data Management Association UK (DAMA UK) conference at BCS HQ in Covent Garden, London. The title of the day was “Practical Data Governance: Preparing Now for the Future”. Throughout the day a combination of governance experts and practitioners told their data governance stories, with excellent case studies provided by Aviva Insurance, the UK Government Environment Agency, Visa Europe, Open Energi and Network Rail.
- Data is a business asset, so its management is ultimately a business, and not an IT, responsibility.
- Improvement can only be made and sustained if named business individuals are made accountable for data. These people are usually known as data owners and / or data stewards.
- Owners / stewards are personally responsible for leading efforts to make the data fit for business purpose, collaborating with data producers, consumers, IT and other stakeholders to effect the change.
- IT has a crucial role to play in data governance, providing the platforms, tools etc. to make it real. But IT cannot and should not own the problem.
What emerged was that data governance has central relevance to many different data challenges and opportunities, including Big Data, the Internet of Things and Open Data. All require effective governance of data to ensure that the investments made in these new approaches deliver real benefits to organisations. It also became clear from the sessions that governance is not primarily a technological discipline or challenge. The real barriers to its implementation are people. Governance requires new ways of thinking about, and managing, data. Inevitably, this culture shift and change is hard for some people to grasp and embrace. So any successful data governance initiative must:
Data Governance is not a challenge for the future. The future is already here. If data governance is not already a reality in your organisation, now is the time to start. As Peter Drucker once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
- Produce and communicate a clear vision of the part data plays in supporting and enabling organisational goals and strategies
- Summarise current problems and issues with the data status quo
- Lay out a strategy for tacking the issues, with clear focus and priorities
- Develop an intensive awareness raising, education and communication programme which helps to drive the culture change required
(1) “Adrift on a sea of data: the state of data 2016”, KDR Recruitment survey, 20 July 2016.
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