5 Critical Components of Data Governance
Implementing a Business Intelligence strategy can be painful for any organization. In general, companies may have multiple systems generating and consuming data, data that exists on individual machines, and multiple sources containing copies of similar data. Each of these issues conspire against a company successfully finding actionable information from their organizational data.
The most fundamental component to mitigate these issues is by creating a comprehensive data governance plan and establishing the right organizational structure to guide your Data & Analytics Strategy. Just as a successful author would not be able to write a full-fledged novel without a structured outline of plot points and characters already well formed, you should not design, nor implement, a Business Intelligence Capability without the same level of forethought and detail put into your Data Governance Plan.
Five areas that require focus in developing a successful Data Governance Plan:
1. Organizational Ownership: The creation of the Data Governance Plan begins with the people within the organization. It is easy to identify some of the major players such as; the Director of IT, the DBAs, the CTO, and the CIO. It is also beneficial to include a cross-section of the systems’ users. These are the people who know the data that the systems capture and the business rules and workflows that must be followed to do their jobs. A cross-functional team within the company will provide the organization with an assurance that every area of the business is covered.
2. Information Terms Alignment: An often overlooked item in this process is normalizing your organization’s nomenclature, also known as creating a terms dictionary. You may sometimes find that several departments/teams within your company use the same term with different meanings. This will become an issue with a new BI Strategy because data will begin to be shared enterprise-wide, and it could create confusion if Operations and Finance are coming to different conclusions based on the same data due to a single term being incorrectly defined.
3. System of Record Identification: Another contentious point is creating or identifying the System of Record. If your company hosts several systems which all contain the same or similar data, then there could be confusion about which system is correct when there is a discrepancy. Assigning a System of Record is simply deciding which system will hold the ‘Master Record’, so that you have a baseline to match all other data off of.
4. Information Classification: The team must identify the different sources of data that your company uses. There is System Data and there is Non-System-Critical Data. System Data is all of the data that is created by systems within your company on a day-to-day basis. Non-System-Critical Data is the data that is stored in a non-production system (ie. Excel, Access, Word Doc). All of the data that your company manages and uses needs to be classified.
5. Tools, Platforms & Enabling Technology: Choosing the tools and technology you are going to use AFTER developing the plan and business use cases is vital. If you choose your tools first, then any plan you develop will simply be conforming to the capabilities and limitations of that tool. This often does not make for a successful business intelligence approach and often provides limited business outcomes.
All of this may seem like a lot, and it is. Undergoing a business intelligence, enterprise information management and analytics transformation is a major initiative for any company. That’s why it is important to ensure your company’s best chance at success by developing and following through on your Data Governance Plan. A properly established Data Governance capability will guide you directly to the tool and technology you will need to purchase or develop, and be able to settle any disagreements down the line.
Anexinet is a technology firm that delivers strategy, digital, and technology solutions by leveraging the best combination of cloud, products, and services.
Chris Exley, Information & Analytics Solutions, Chris’s LinkedIn Profile, [email protected]
Chris Young, Strategy Solutions, Chris’s LinkedIn Profile, [email protected]