Data Management and Governance – The Path to Success
The road to successful data management and governance begins with a belief that your data is a company asset and a commitment to ensure its value. This commitment will require a collaborative approach throughout the enterprise as well as having the right detail-oriented resources to tackle the challenges.
What’s Driving your Requirements?
You must decide what the drivers are that are instigating this initiative. Is it an internal need for better reporting, elimination of inefficient activity, cost reduction and/or better decision making? Or is it an external requirement to adhere to regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA or any number of data privacy requirements?
Depending on your response, identify the key people who can define the precise standards required to meet your business and project needs.
Is there a Strong Team in Place?
A team or task force that covers the main business area requirements will help with the completeness, and subsequent buy-in, of data compliance. This is rarely a once-and-done event – if your business is growing or changing, your data governance must evolve with you. If the government enacts a new security stipulation that impacts you, your team must respond quickly.
Data stewards and data custodians play key roles in governing data. A data steward typically manages the data requirements, evaluates sources for efficiency and not only crafts them into policies and procedures, but drives their implementation and enforcement. Note the word, “enforcement”. This person(s) must have the authority and cooperation of the organization to ensure data adherence. While they should have good communication skills, it’s a good idea to have an escalation path defined should mediation be necessary.
Data custodians are responsible for the storage, protection, infrastructure and accessibility of the data. They collaborate with data stewards to ensure data quality and any activities such as data transformations, system changes and addressing data issues.
Depending on the scope and quality of your data, it’s possible your data steward and data custodian are handled by a single individual.
What Software Tools do you need to Succeed?
Once your data policies are defined, you must decide if you can manage the data requirements with the tools you have, or if additional software is required for larger initiatives. A Google search for “Data Management Software” returns over 10,000,000 hits. If you enter “Data Management Software Vendors”, that pares it down to just over 1,400,000 hits. The essential building blocks of data management should include master data management, data governance, data quality, data integration and data federation tools. If you need help determining the best way to evaluate and address your data quality, find a trusted partner with the experience to guide you through these difficult decisions.
Drive for the Finish Line!
With your team in place, policies defined and the means to address compliance, you should communicate your data governance goals to the entire enterprise and launch your Data Project.
Start with a small pilot and target an area that needs help. Develop a proof of concept and build the buy-in with your organization. As improvements are realized, not only will it be easier to gain compliance, your company will start enjoying the benefits from having complete, accurate, trust-worthy data that can truly be considered an asset.