Top 3 Data Governance Questions on Data Leaders' Minds

Working for a Data Governance Solutions company puts me in regular contact with data enthusiasts including Executives, Enterprise Architects, and Data Stewards from various types of organizations of all different industries and sizes.  As a Client Relations Specialist, I’m focused on guiding these enthusiasts towards the data governance software and/or appropriate consulting leaders within our organization. I have heard many different questions during these introductory calls and it’s clear to me there are three questions that seem to be on everyone’s mind.  

1. How do you assign value to data and how am I quickly going to see a ROI on Data Governance?

Of course a prescriptive answer depends on your company and what current initiative you are really focusing on. However, once you’ve identified the key areas you are focusing on, DATUM’s data governance solution instantly recognizes three different levels of value organizations reap by addressing governance.

  • Tactical: Most tools and organizations focus their time and effort mainly on how to reduce the number of clicks and the number of people who are spending hours cleaning and maintaining systems and interfaces.  Typically, a headcount oriented optimization activity, where new automation via tools and stewardship capabilities can make the folks lives who address the data day in and day out easier is one way we see this being approached.  While this type of ROI is easy to calculate and easy to identify, it is also lowest on the totem pole for the business’s priorities.    
  • Operational: Instead of talking about the number of hours and touches spent stewarding and cleaning data, we are now talking about having a single version or view of our customer, or a single view of our vendors. This will get us to a point where we can make better decisions as a business on how we are marketing, selling and cross selling into our most strategic customer base. It will guide us on how to reduce wasted cost by having a better understanding of our top suppliers and making sure that we are leveraging the volume of what we are buying from those strategic suppliers to get a better deals and discounts.  Naturally this also leads to a better grip on our top products and working capital decisions.  
  • Strategic: Once we have addressed the tactical and operational functions, we get into the differentiators in the market your C-Suite is focused on: how to innovate your business, the top 5 business goals and objectives and focusing on how we are transforming the business, etc.  Objectives like accelerating new product introduction cycles, reducing day sales outstanding and having a faster and more seamless M&A process capability all allow you to recognize efficiencies and innovate your business strategy with data.  

What makes DATUM unique in the market is our ability to support your company through the cycle of defining the different levels of governance.  Our data governance platform, Information Value Management® connects the tactical, operational and strategic phases together.  Information Value Management® does this by starting with a customizable data dictionary that quickly identifies the most critical data to the business and enables profiling and cleansing in a higher automation fashion. Our solution then links all of your activities to the strategic objectives and goals executives truly care about.  Our platform allows you to scale all the way up, down and across, so that your program isn’t just focused on reducing touches and peoples’ hands on keyboards cleaning data. It is about innovating the business, improving revenues, reducing wasted spend and ultimately creating value from information.

Download the Information Value Management® Solution Brief to learn more about our data governance software solution

2. Who in the organization, do you see taking on responsibility for data? Do we need to hire new personnel for this?

The driving factor behind our Information Value Management® methodology has always been the emphasis on helping organizations get as much done with as little effort as possible.  After many years of working in this industry, DATUM has found that most companies use three groups of individuals:

  • People that are going to define the Objectives, Metrics, Processes, Standards, Rules and Dictionary terms in IVM
  • People that are going to make sure those applications are being maintained and pushed to the right people
  • People that are going to use those applications that are defined to do the tactical work

Whoever takes on specified responsibilities in the three groups depends on each individual organization and how they are currently operating today.  Rarely do we see organizations finding it necessary to bring on additional personnel.  We aren’t creating complicated, large organization models, instead we are making the people already engaged more seamless and efficient so they can focus on delivering value for what matters to the business.

3. How long does it take to establish and implement data governance? Do you start in one specific area or do you go for a “big bang” approach?

Implementing Information Value Management® is simple, lean and easily tailored for each customer we don’t try to boil the ocean. Our solution’s objective is to start small and find some key areas that the C-Suite is focused on and then show quick measurable wins.  As you progress further in the implementation process, your range of focus expands to other domains and business objectives.

That being said, if you are a mature organization and are comfortable taking on more than one initiative at a time, many customers have implemented IVM in multiple domains at once.  In 2015, one of our Fortune 50 clients established their governance organization and within a couple years had a Business Intelligence Center of Excellence (BI CoE) initiative stand up for 16 corporate KPIs.  The governance team was mature enough, had put in the representatives and were able to tackle the KPIs across five domains at once, and with great success.  

Most typically, getting started with Information Value Management® is a 2-3 week period, in which we load pre-existing or pre-designed organization structure, ownership assignments, data standards, business rules and metric definitions into IVM all followed by basic administration training.  In addition to this initial launch process, DATUM’s seasoned practitioners may also support guiding and/or executing of the following:

  • Strategy assessment across people, process, policies and technology capabilities
  • Tailored Org/Operating model design
  • Pilot of operating model for defined domain(s), process (es), metric(s), etc.

You can compare DATUM to a giant ice cream shop; our software platform and services come with many flavors and options due to the experience and knowledge we have acquired from many different industries and from many different situations.  The best part of Information Value Management® is that even if someone walks through the door and wants to try a completely new flavor, no matter how bizarre, the ingredients are there to accelerate your path to success and business value!

Download the solution brief below to learn more about our data governance software platform, Information Value Management®

Download the IVM Data Sheet