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The concept of Data Governance has been tossed around for a number of years without looking at some of the contributing initiatives that help support its proper adoption. I was assisting a customer about three years back on their Data Quality (DQ, not to be mistaken for Dairy Queen) issues and realized that with a little more stakeholder involvement their effort could evolve into Data Governance and my customer could call himself the Data Steward. His next step was formalizing how new data entities were adopted as applications were brought into the life cycle management process. This effort started to allow his team to clearly show the lineage of data from source to warehouse to report. It was this result that allowed him to show the value of his efforts to the business through demonstrating accountability for accurate reporting and controlling both the adoption and change of data in the enterprise. Eventually they did formalize their efforts, over a year later, with a Master Data Management (MDM) sponsored effort on the business side that created a Data Management Council for clarifying and approving any discrepancies and he is now the lead as the Data Steward.

This same instance of adopting MDM or starting to realize your organization needs better DQ are the specific foundations for a complete Data Governance effort in the whole organization, from the IT side of the house to the business and external side. The real difference maker is ‘who wants this to happen?’ If the stakeholders have the authority to make it happen, then it will, otherwise it will limp along until someone decides it is costing money and there is no return. Doesn’t that sound familiar?

Some of the lessons learned from the above effort and other sources have shown there needs to be clear reasons for adopting Data Governance. The first is Compliance, which drives the business into a corner when it comes to data quality and being accountable for the reports that are issued. Secondly, adoption of new applications, or the merger and/or acquisition of new systems, can drive an IT group to a complete standstill without a documented approach to integrating new data collection and storage techniques through a quality or management program. Finally, the pace of change in today’s business world is unprecedented. This pace is driving the business to adopt new initiatives in a shorter period of time to stay competitive in their market.

Lets dive into some of the actions on these lessons next time.

Until then.

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