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Data Governance Strategy

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Data Governance is imperative to create a data-centric, insight-driven organization.  Governance is now high on senior leadership’s priorities owing to huge public uproar over data privacy, data disclosures instigating harm to enterprises’ reputation, and stringent regulations.

This warrants adopting a careful Data Governance Strategy; since in the absence of one, the huge data being piled every day tend to cause regulatory or professional issues.  A Data Governance Strategy is the foremost step towards upgraded data capabilities, development of data professionals, and a collaborative enterprise.

Six steps are critical to develop a pragmatic Data Governance Strategy:

  1. Document existing governance structure and roles
  2. Gain senior leadership sponsorship for the program
  3. Improve data awareness and education
  4. Redefine data structures and establish a team
  5. Create measurement metrics to identify success
  6. Choose data tools that match your strategy

This 6-phase Data Governance Strategy enhances how the business is managed and assists in recognizing and valuing data as a significant business asset.  The Strategy assists in creating accurate and standardized data, enhances its usability, and enable more calculated Decision making.

Phase 1 – Document Existing Governance Structure and Roles

The foremost phase marks the recognition of existing data management practices that are typically managed by the database administrators (access permissions), IT people (who back up and store data) and networking professionals (who ensure availability of licensed business intelligence applications) at the organization.  Some form of Data Governance is followed by every enterprise though it is not available in the shape of a policy document.

Once the existing governance structure and roles have been distinguished, there is a need to make a formal inventory of data assets, identify the people responsible for handling data; and identify gaps in the data assets, responsibilities of relevant people, and processes.

Phase 2 – Gain Senior Leadership’s Sponsorship For the Program

The next phase emphasizes on the value of acquiring executive sponsorship for the triumph of a Data Governance program.  Data Governance Strategy roles typically are handled by engineers, developers, and network administrators, operating in departmental silos.  A workable, cross-departmental Governance Strategy cannot be developed and implemented without active support from the senior leadership.

In order to earn executive support for Data Governance programs executive leadership typically choose the option of promoting trepidation and ambiguity—for instance, charging penalties on violating data privacy and protection regulations.  However, this method generates antagonism and displeasure among the stakeholders, and is destructive in governing data.  A better alternative is to make Data Governance attractive for executives by demonstrating to them the benefits of Data Governance in making the enterprise more efficient and flexible.

Phase 3 – Improve Data Awareness and Education

This phase of the Data Governance Strategy entails improving data literacy across the enterprise.  For Data Governance Strategy and initiatives to succeed, support from the employees is just as essential as leadership’s support.  Awareness of the value of data is critical for the people to understand the significance of protecting information resources.

Lack of awareness, discovery, and reuse of data assets already created by people in an organization is a common glitch even in data-centric organizations.  It’s the main reason for rework and duplication of effort resulted by creating entire databases and dashboards again.  Developing and conducting employee training programs on data literacy and Data Science competencies improves Data Governance Strategy and implementation.

Interested in learning more about the other phases of Data Governance Strategy? You can download an editable PowerPoint on Data Governance Strategy here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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About Mark Bridges

Mark Bridges is a Senior Director of Strategy at Flevy. Flevy is your go-to resource for best practices in business management, covering management topics from Strategic Planning to Operational Excellence to Digital Transformation (view full list here). Learn how the Fortune 100 and global consulting firms do it. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by leveraging Flevy's library of best practice methodologies and templates. Prior to Flevy, Mark worked as an Associate at McKinsey & Co. and holds an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. You can connect with Mark on LinkedIn here.

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