Understanding and Justifying Data Governance 2.0

by Zak Cole       • March 1, 2018

In the past, justifying data governance was notoriously difficult. The siloed nature of Data Governance 1.0, and its lack of focus on adding value meant buy-in was low.

While housing data governance (DG) within IT might have made sense in its early stage, data and data governance has evolved.

Today, we generate a staggering 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day. With growing regulatory demands and the opportunities of infonomics, data search and discovery from an IT silo aren’t enough.

Data governance as a practice, and the solutions that power it, must be part of an organization’s culture to ensure the people and departments that use data are involved in its discovery, understanding, governance and socialization for peak performance.

So, how do you go about justifying data governance as an enterprise-wide initiative?

Justifying Data Governance – The Roadblocks

First, we must look at the shortcomings of the Data Governance 1.0 approach that are clearly reflected in the 2018 State of Data Governance Report. The lack of executive support is cited as the most common roadblock to implementing data governance at 42%, with a lack of organizational support closely following at 39%.

For data-driven enterprises, executives arguably have the biggest stake in improving DG practices. Decisions surrounding strategic direction – e.g., emerging markets to target, insights into operational efficiency, performance of marketing campaigns – are best made with accurate data.

By implementing a sound data governance initiative, data availability and context improves so employees – from executives to the front line – can make better and faster decisions. Additionally, decisions will be made with more confidence, knowing the data can be trusted. As a result, there will be fewer risks, false starts and wasted budgets on projects doomed to fail because they were based on faulty premises.

The State of DG Report also found a lack of effective tools to be another roadblock to successfully implementing data governance. This is no surprise because they weren’t built with collaboration in mind.

As mentioned, the data produced by modern society – and business – is staggering, and it permeates the whole business. Furthermore, data regulations – such as GDPR – demand that organizations understand their data lineage, being able to show who has access to what.

Governing massive volumes of data and being able to demonstrate its lineage from department to department and employee to employee fundamentally requires a collaborative approach.

Another area in which Data Governance 1.0 fell short was in articulating a business case. Of the organizations surveyed for the State of DG Report, 27% say this as a roadblock to successful data governance.

Those frustrations are understandable, as DG 1.0 wasn’t conceived for proactively adding value. But DG 2.0 has opened significant opportunities for organizations to add value, so data governance is easier to justify as a means of identifying and implementing new ideas and improvements more quickly.

For example, financial services companies stand to generate $30 billion in extra revenue through better governance of their data.

Justifying Data Governance – A New Direction

Data Governance 2.0 ploughs through the roadblocks associated with old-school DG.

It takes an enterprise-wide approach to ensure data governance really works, meaning “data owners” and “data stakeholders” are involved in the cataloging process. Everyone benefits from having access to data in context to their roles with a better grasp of its history and lineage.

Of course, regulatory compliance is the main driver for revisiting or implementing a DG initiative. However, the benefits of data governance go well beyond GDPR compliance. Better data quality, context and lineage lead to greater customer satisfaction, improved decision-making and the ability to maintain or even enhance an organization’s reputation – all mentioned as reasons to implement DG in the State of DG Report.

Indeed, understanding and governing enterprise assets has become more important to the C-suite. And DG 2.0 presupposes that CTOs in addition to CFOs, CMOs and other business executives are involved in data management on a day-to day basis. Therefore, they have to be part of the initiative and enabled to share information for agile innovation and business transformation.

It’s clear this new, proactive take on data governance is catching on. The hyper-competitive nature of data-driven business demands it – with or without the threat of GDPR penalties.  Organizations reluctant or slow to adopt Data Governance 2.0 will be left behind.

To get the full State of DG Report, including survey results and insights, click here.

State of DG: Get the full report

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