The Data Governance Operating Model

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In today’s enterprise, an operating model is about more than roles and responsibilities - it is about a business-led methodology that is linked to business initiatives, objectives, and outcomes. 

You can't have an operating model without people. But it is more than just butts in seats, a true operating model for data governance requires a methodology for the Data Management Organization (DMO) to define, propose and review governance styles mapped to business processes.


Organizing for data may or may not mean a dedicated full-time team of resources. Every company we have supported over the last several years has expressed an interest in chartering an organization for data, but each has also been wary of building a new empire, establishing a new cost center, disrupting existing entities and slowing down the course of business. For those reasons, lean principles are helpful in settling concerns and keeping all decisions about roles and responsibilities centered on the cultural values of the enterprise. Almost always those corporate values focus on value creation and reject the notions of being wasteful. If you are building a DMO, make sure they know that the team you are assembling, the roles they are establishing and the outcomes you are targeting are all aligned to elimination of waste in the system. For that reason, the team assembled to support data may be mostly part-time, mostly full-time or completely embedded within the business unless attached to a business transformation.


We have witnessed a wide variety of scenarios (including crisis) that generate the attention and funding for the people side of the equation, but success in data is measured by something other than the number of roles created. Keeping to a value-based approach means consistent alignment of people, process, metrics and technology are necessary to demonstrate success. It’s never too late to revisit where you are on your journey and align expectations on the destination, pace and methods you will use to get there. Sometimes it comes down organizing the best you can with the team members and tools you have at your disposal. Leadership in the early stages can institutionalize success down the road. 


 Are you looking to start (or REstart) data governance? Start lean, start mean and demonstrate more green by reading our guide to getting started.


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