Many organizations have grown from humble beginnings into substantial players in their industries, all without ever having formalized Data Governance. Eventually, every organization reaches a point where the data and information flows become so complex and unwieldy that something must be done. The following ten signs will help you determine whether Data Governance is something your company should consider someday…or today:
10 – If your organization has no formal Data Governance process, something else is already governing your data – you just don’t know who or what that is. Does this scare you?
9 – You have no clear definition of what the term “customer” means throughout your organization. Don’t even bother reading the rest of the list – you need Data Governance.
8 – Your organization agrees on what the term “customer” should mean, but your data makes the simple idea far more complex.
7 – You wouldn’t operate your business without a budget, why would you let one of your organization’s most important assets operate without guidance?*
6 – You find that some areas of your organization have data that other areas need, but that information is shared inefficiently, or worse: not at all.
5 – Your developers spend a lot of time tracking down the information they need – you’d prefer they don’t guess, but their guesses may be the only option.
4 – Your developers will probably need that same information again – let’s hope they don’t guess differently next time.
3 – Your most knowledgeable information workers spend much of their time answering questions instead of using that knowledge to make your business better.
2 – Data governance is a lot of work, and needs precious time from your organization’s most senior people. Wait, that sounds like a reason not to do Data Governance! But if not navigating your organization through a world of ever-deeper, faster information, what are these people so busy doing?
1 – Inaction is still an action – is it the one your business needs?
One last thought: Data Governance is not rocket science – rocket fuel behaves more predictably than people! If your organization needed to build a rocket, you would likely call in some experts – if your organization needs Data Governance, you should do the same…though probably with different experts.
Anthony J. Algmin is a Manager in the Business Intelligence Practice at West Monroe Partners.
* To extend the analogy, Metadata Management would be the “accounting system” to the Data Governance “budget process.” Metadata Management captures what “is” and Data Governance tells you what “should be.” You really should have both. We will talk more about this in future posts.