Implementing Data Governance in a changing world.

Data Governance isn’t new. Although many organisations are still wrestling with how to implement it successfully, most do now recognize that ‘making data an enterprise asset’ can significantly improve their bottom line. So what do we do when the rule book is being rewritten before we’re even over the first hurdle?

  • Joanne Leseman
  • 26 maart 2014

Until now Data Governance has grown up around various headings: ownership, data culture, quality and data policies to name a few.  However the world of Business Intelligence is changing dramatically and Data Governance needs to adapt in response, even before it has reached maturity in its present form. We’re moving from integrated information systems within centralized datawarehouses to a BI Ecosystem approach, where connected systems rather than integrated systems are the solution. This in turn has an impact on Data Governance. Although the same headings still provide our focus, a new approach to Data Governance is required.

Reviewing various Data Governance focus areas in more detail can help us understand this impact more clearly. First under the spotlight is responsibility.

Responsibility for Data Governance – who’s answerable?

A useful starting point for many data governance initiatives is the question of who’s responsible. A quick Google and various experts will tell you that a data governance committee, data steward, CTO, CIO or some other clearly nominated person will be very happy to lead us by the hand to ensure our Data Governance works smoothly. But is this still the case in the new world of the BI Ecosystem?

End users are far more willing and able than before to combine multiple data sources to achieve more complete data, richer information and more useful insights. This means they also need to become aware of the impact of Data Governance and the need to take responsibility for this themselves. This is different to the controlled environment where a Business Intelligent club carefully produces a series of predefined reports or answers ad information hoc requests by building a solution for the user. The user themselves needs to be given the knowledge, tools and training to ask and answer questions like:

  • Are the data sources compatible?
  • Are we comparing like with like?
  • Are we combining the data accurately?
  • Are we violating privacy rights?

Failure on any of these points could at best lead to incorrect conclusions and at worst to some dangerous consequences for the organisation. In the new world of the BI Ecosystem we have to ensure our end users are empowered and knowledgeable enough to perform their own Data Governance responsibly.

Over de auteur:

Joanne Leseman

Joanne is business consultant bij Ordina VisionWorks. Ze houdt zich bezig met all-round Business Intelligence, Data Governance en Business Intelligence Competence Centres. Joanne is veelal werkzaam in de Finance sector en is nu actief bij Elsevier.