One of my favorite sayings is “awareness is a wonderful thing”. As an information management solutions company, we know Master Data Management (MDM) and Data Governance (DG) will not receive the needed corporate prioritization without maximum awareness. Competing for monetary and human resources to take care of our data verses an operational investment, like a new logistics system, can be a tough sell. The first step to a successful MDM and DG program is a comprehensive Information Management Strategy. But how do you get executive support for this strategy?
Generating awareness is crucial; however, when communicating with executives the message needs to be relevant to their responsibilities. The first step is to understand who should/will be in the room for a data management strategy discussion and how to build your case around what is most important to them.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO):
Cares About: Stakeholder value and leveraging corporate assets toward business objectives.
Talk About: Treating data as a corporate asset, lost opportunity costs, global sustainment, and risk/cost avoidance.
The Chief Financial Officer (CFO):
Cares About: Expenses, profit margins, and investment of resources.
Talk About: How the Data Management Strategy enables improved M&A activities, supports mandatory regulatory compliance, and identifies/supports cost reductions.
The Chief Operating Officer (COO):
Cares About: Customer satisfaction, operational efficiencies, and better decision making.
Talk About: Improved customer understanding, enabling global operations through common processes and data, and empowering employees with self-service business intelligence.
The Chief Information Officer (CIO):
Cares About: Reduced IT costs, increased self-service, and successfully executing the appropriate/proficient projects.
Talk About: The benefits of common global data structures, increased global integration, reduced total cost of ownership, and data architecture needed to support value driven analytics.
You also need to understand the difference between business justification and a business case, and when to use each. Business justification illustrates the necessity of the Data Management Strategy by leveraging the business drivers and benefits we just discussed. A formal business case is typically an executive document that quantifies the benefits into bottom-line tangible savings and describes direct business impact intangible savings.
Executive support does not end with the Data Management Strategy initiative approval and kickoff. Their ongoing involvement is imperative to Data Management/Data Quality program sustainment. Check out our Best Practices for Building a Business Case post for more on creating a business case focused on sustaining support for Data Management.