Mindful Data Governance Initiative

Mindful Data Governance Initiative

Before I go into what Mindful Data Governance Initiative is, I do what to say that I truly believe that every business out there can get real value from implementing Data Governance. If Data Governance is not on the roadmap for your business to implement I would seriously start thinking on how you could get it on there with key messaging to the executives. In my opinion Data Governance was nice to have back many many years ago but now it has become a must have, especially with the amount of data that is being collected by businesses today and the importance of analytics.

What is the Mindful Data Governance Initiative?
Why did I developed this methodology that I call Mindful Data Governance Initiative, I wanted a methodology in implementing Data Governance for my clients that would not hinder much of my client’s employees day to day activities. I wanted a methodology that would not break my client’s budget and allow my clients to see the importance and value that Data Governance can bring to their business. Businesses are paying money for custom software, SaaS, and data feeds that are bringing important transactional data into their business: Why not make sure that data is of the highest quality? Why not make sure the data is not being duplicated? Why not make sure the data is linked and being shared? Why not make sure that data is showing them the right picture on how their business is doing?

Let me just say this again implementing a Data Governance initiative does not have to take a large amount of dollars and does not have to be disruptive to employees day to day activities. This is why the methodology of Mindful Data Governance Initiative can impact businesses in a very powerful way, so businesses can start to reap the rewards of Data Governance and not have the worry about the impact of implementing a Data Governance solution could have on their business, their departments and/or their employees. The Mindful Data Governance Initiative is an approach that is done in phases with little impact to the business and starts to only address the nonstandard Data Governance items that the business is already conducting. We will go into what I define as a nonstandard data governance item very soon.

Why did I choose the word Mindful?
Merriam Websters definitions of Mindful are bearing in mind and inclined to be aware (conscious or aware of something). You can implement Data Governance within your business without creating a disruptive environment and impacting employees day to day activities by being mindful of the approach you take in Data Governance. Most business have some sort of nonstandard data governance that they are conducting and could implement standards around. Looking at implementing Data Governance this way (starting with the non-standards that you know exist) businesses can start their Mindful Data Governance Initiative easily and cost effectively. With this methodology, businesses can see the benefits of creating documentation and policies around those nonstandard tasks that have been identified and ensure the 4 principles are being applied to them availability, usability, integrity, and security.

Why did I choose the word initiative?
Lets look at the definition of initiative from Merriam Webster, 1. An introductory step. 2. Energy or aptitude displayed in initiation of action. Synonyms: action, drive, and ambition. I think when most businesses executives and sponsors think of Data Governance they do no think of it as an initiative, they think of it more as a directive that will disrupt and hinder their business’ day to day operations and could cost them a significant amount of money. They think of policies that are time consuming and costly to write and enforce in their business. That simple is not true with Mindful Data Governance Initiative. This approach can be very unobtrusive and budget sensitive especially because it can be done in phases.

Lets look more in-depth at the definition of initiative and why I choose that word to use in my methodology. The first definition of initiative is an introductory step. When implementing a Mindful Data Governance Initiative you look at everything as phases and do not worry about implementing the entire data governance all at once, as you do not have to implement everything to see the benefits and obtain a return on investment (ROI) of this initiative. When taking this introductory step (the first phase) the business and the executive sponsors will not only see a quick win but they will see why data governance is important. Before I tell you what I think should be the introductory step of your Mindful Data Governance Initiative let me explain that I think most business implement some type of nonstandard data governance in sections of their business’ and they just do not realize it. Here is an example of what I think is an nonstandard data governance practice: It is known by certain employees in the Customer Service department that when entering new products into their inventory systems that the name of the grouping of those products must match exactly the name inside their CRM system. Thats it and I believe most business will find a lot of these tasks undocumented within their organization, and the impact of not documenting these processes is that if these employees leave the business so does the knowledge. This should be your first step, identifying these areas and asking these questions: Where does the data come from? Where is the data being stored? Where is the data being used? How accurate is the data? Are these data points already being collected in other parts of the business? What rule(s) does the data have to follow? Who is collecting the data? These are just some of the questions and answers that should be documented, so business risk goes down and financial benefits increase.

The entire reason why I have developed the Mindful Data Governance Initiative approach is because I believe that Data Governance does not have to be a big impact on the business and can increase the value of a business’ data, decrease cost, increase the business’ revenue as a whole, ensures compliance and regulation needs are met, and promotes transparency through out the business. In my next blog I am going to talk about what are the different levels in the Mindful Data Governance Initiative and how you can find out what level does your business fall in. If you are interested in implementing the Mindful Data Governance inside your business, let me know I would love to help.

Data Governance 4 Your Business

What is Data Governance?
Data governance refers to the overall management of the availability, usability, integrity, and security of the data deployed in your business. A healthy data governance program includes a governing group, a defined set of procedures (that are repeatable), and a well-designed plan to execute those procedures (documented).

I always think of the number four when I think of Data Governance. Here is why: Some attributes of the number four are hard work, security, practicality, productivity, appreciation, tradition, solid foundations, security-consciousness, self-control, loyalty, conscientiousness, high morals and ethics. The essence of the number four is security, diligent work and strong foundations. All those attributes and the essence of number four is exactly how your data governance is to be implemented and treated. One of the most important attributes of a Data Governance is a solid strong foundation. Remember DATA GOVERNANCE 4 YOUR BUSINESS

Your Data Governance should consist of a four-way structure incorporating availability, usability, integrity, and security.

Why is Data Governance important?
Data Governance is important because it ensures that the data assets are formally, proactively, properly, and efficiently managed throughout the organization to secure its trust and accountability.

Data Governance comprises the collecting of data, revising and standardizing it, and making to ready for use. It makes the data consistent. Data Governance ensures that critical data is available at the right time to the right person, in a standardized and reliable form. This helps the business and its operations to be better organized. Adopting and implementing Data Governance can overall help improve the efficiency and productivity of an organization.

What are some of the methodologies of Data Governance?
Data is king and is so very important to every business no matter the size. You can implement Data Governance in phases but the implementation must always be across the entire business in order to be successful. Also it is very important to remember that once a phase has been implemented the governance body will have to continue monitor, maintain and review those implemented processes and the data, this is critical. Other success factors that can help you implement a winning Data Governance are: Look and prioritize areas of improvement (phase approach); Create roles, responsibilities, and rules from the processes people use in working with the data; establish an accountability infrastructure; convert your business culture to a master data management system. The way to start this highly structured and monitored Data Management strategy is to standardize the use of terminology across business units and enforce consistency of use. The ultimate goal of Data Governance is to make sure it is possible to consolidate your data and create a consistent view of that data across the business for advanced Business Intelligence activities. Literally you are turning data into a “Single Source of Truth” that the entire business is looking at.

Business Intelligence without Data Governance
Can you implement Business Intelligence without Data Governance? Of course you can. I believe that the two must go hand and hand. A sound Data Governance can significantly increase the returns of a company wide Business Intelligence investment. When starting a BI initiative with clients I seldom hear them talking about Data Governance but that does not take away the reality that it has to exist. Without governing your data in this data driven world business businesses will never realize the full potential of the data they are collecting. Data governance used to be a nice to have, but due to the increasing focus and importance of data and analytics, it’s becoming a necessity that helps to drive data management across the business.

For Example
Take a financial business I worked with that had very poor, inconsistent customer data. All of the customers with first, middle and last names had multiple differences, and addresses were inconsistent. This type of situation makes it very difficult to do any type of customer analytics, from identifying cross-sell opportunities to tracking and understanding customer experience. Data Governance can be a first step in identifying the issues, defining standards, and implementing changes in the business to align with these standards.