Best Practices for Building a Business Case for Data Governance

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Congratulations! You’ve just been promoted to a shiny new Data Governance Management position. Your boss and your boss’s boss want to see results right away…but they also don’t think you need resources or funding.


Before you can start kicking butt and taking names, you need to present a strong case that convinces the executive team to get on board now, but also sustains their support over the entire data governance journey. You need to build an effective business case! As your partner in information management, DATUM helps to identify and quantify our customer's opportunities with data. We then consider the unique culture, politics, and existing processes to help create a focused and specific business case. However, we’ve also recognized a few best practices that apply to everyone. Here are some best practices for building a business case to help get you started down the right path…

Avoid Focusing on Generic Value Statements

The executive team has heard these “pie in the sky” statistics before and it is their job to push back. Avoid statements like:

“Data quality affects overall productivity by as much as 20%”

“Master data quality degrades between 2% and 7% per month”

Generic statements like these will inevitably be met by executives replying “so what?” or “Show me how this applies to us.”

Avoid Focusing Only on Tactical Savings

While executives don’t want to hear “pie in the sky” metrics, they also won’t find overly tactical justifications valuable enough either. Avoid statements like:

“I know we can eliminate over 10 touch points with a new workflow tool”

“Almost 40% of my staff’s time is spent fixing data quality issues”

More often than not, the executive response will be “isn’t data quality your team’s job?”

Identify and Connect Value Drivers to Data

Step1 - Identify what your executive team cares about (value drivers)…KPIs like improving customer share of wallet or reduced costs and supply chain efficiencies. Once you learn what matters to them you have half of the formula for success.

Step 2 - Draw the connection between those KPIs & value drivers and their associated operational business processes and associated metrics.

Step 3 – Decompose those processes and metrics to expose the critical data which directly impacts the business, and define your governance strategies to optimize.

TA-DA! You’ve just demonstrated how data governance could positively impact the bottom-line executives care about!

Strategic Value Drivers


These three simple guidelines will help you begin the process of building an effective business case for data governance. Make sure you are tying your recommendations (what you’re going to do) the specific benefits (what they will get) and you will set yourself up for a successful Data Governance journey.

Want more information on building a business case and operating model for your data governance program? Check out a visual walkthrough below:


Building and Sustaining the Operating Model for Data Governance