Do you have a Data Governance?

Data, data, data – Big Data, Small Data, IoT; it is going to revolutionize how you do business.  At least that’s what you hear and read about these days.  So let me ask you: How is data working for you?  Right now.  Today.  In your organization, how is data working?  If you are like many organizations today, the room for improvement is vast.  And that is with your existing data.  What about the data revolution that is happening?  Google seems to know what you want to buy before you do.  So how are you going to compete with that?  You hope for a better tomorrow despite living through the challenges of today.

Before we get going, a disclaimer:  My experiences have been with a very large, disciplined and organized corporation.  I’ve been involved with some merger/consolidation activity, but the vast majority of my experience has been with a Fortune 500 company that had its data together.  Despite that, data was still challenging.  We had complete system failures because the data strategy employed was flawed.  If you have bad data, you have a useless system.

First, let’s talk about why data is important.  Quite simply, if you want to utilize I/T solutions to make better decisions and improve productivity, then you need data.  All I/T systems require it.  It’s simply how they work.  It’s like the gasoline for your automobile.  No gas or bad gas means your car doesn’t run.

So how is the gasoline in your organization?  Right now, does your organization struggle with data quality?  Do different functions within your organization come up with two answers to the same question?  Right now, does your organization struggle with data latency?  Do reports take several hours to full days to compile and prepare for monthly meetings?  Is your S&OP cadence based on the time it takes to process data?  Right now, does your organization struggle with data syndication?  Have you spent months looking for data only to find that another function has had that data all along?

Unlike the automotive industry that is working to make fuel-efficient cars, the I/T industry is developing solutions that consume and require more and more data.  With the exponential growth of data anticipated, your data needs are only going to grow in size and complexity.

And I would discourage you from listening to the advertisements and sales pitches about the new data management software that it going to revolutionize and fix all of your data issues.  It won’t.  Data is not a quick fix, but it is fixable.  Data management software will not fix your issues.  It may be necessary to manage data, but it will not fix it.

If we can agree that

·      Data is vital to running a successful business

·      The current state of data is not ideal, and

·      Data will continue to get bigger and more complex

Then does your organization have a Data Governance Organization (DGO)?  If not, then I would say that you are behind the curve. A DGO is an organization dedicated to data.  It can be known by different names, but it must have a commitment and dedication to data.  All data.  Across all functions and geographies in your business.  Their primary focus is ensuring the organization has a sustainable, implementable Data Strategy.  Their secondary focus is ensuring syndication and utilization of data across all functions.  Their job is to ensure that today’s data is good and getting better, and to prepare for tomorrow’s data revolution.  It’s only by having this dedicated group focused on data that your organization will be able to take full advantage of your current I/T systems and best utilize future technologies.

There is no quick fix for data.  It’s only by having a dedicated group focused on data that it will get better.

So why don’t you have a Data Governance Organization?

If you find yourself wanting to know more, there is a plethora of information on the web.  Try searching “Data Governance Organizations.” If you still have questions, give me a shout at