With strong execution, data governance has the power to transform an organization. In practice, a transformational data governance program has three distinguishable characteristics:
1. Strong Executive Support
Strong executive support is critical to provide resources and funding, as well as making sure the organization is politically aligned to pursue data governance strategically.
When seeking an executive sponsor, don’t jump right to the CIO. Instead, consider other leaders whose responsibilities are directly affected by data. A supportive CIO will undoubtedly be an asset, but it’s essential to ensure the data governance initiatives support the business goals, not just IT.
A Chief Legal Officer concerned about data security and compliance or a Chief Financial Officer concerned about the accuracy of financial reporting and auditing might be strong candidates.
2. Tailored to the Needs of Your Organization
When designing your program, plan it around your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Choose team members who are familiar with these traits of the organization to help design the program. If you’re unsure if this knowledge exists, performing a SWOT analysis is a valuable first step to gain a better understanding of the company’s landscape.
Data governance programs are not cookie cutter in nature. Consider other organization-wide initiatives that have launched. What factors determined how successful they were? Grow from these lessons learned to set up the data governance program for success.
3. Effective Communication with Stakeholders
Communicating with stakeholders can be challenging, but how you do it will make or break your program. To effectively implement your data governance policies, you must communicate them. And to resolve issues, you must report them.
Keep in mind the communication plan will need to be multi-faceted. Not everyone is going to read every sentence of an email, and not everyone will seek out their unit’s data steward. The communication plan will be a living document, so be prepared to make tweaks to reach stakeholders more effectively.
Creating and implementing a data governance plan is a journey. If you keep these three pillars in your sights as you move through the process, you’ll achieve your goals – and transform your business.
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