Creating a plan on paper is always easy but implementing it can be filled with challenges. Applying a practical data governance strategy is also much more difficult than formulating it. Every organization is looking to leverage information for its advantage. This has led to a profusion of data management services and experts. In such an environment, devising a plan for monitoring the information management scheme of an enterprise is not a tall order. However, deciding exactly how the scheme will be operationalized remains a complex task. It is common to see businesses with not a strong data culture struggling with implementing a governance initiative on the ground. While the actual execution depends on the specific nature and size of an organization, there are some best practices that they can follow for successful implementation. Here are a few of those data governance strategy tips that will help enterprises in smoothly rolling out a program.
1. Assess The Preparedness Of Your Organization For The Program
Before you start executing the plan on the ground, it will be pertinent to assess the preparedness of your organization for it. An enterprise which has been using information management tools for some time will be having an informal monitoring mechanism as well. Starting the initiative at such a company is not going to be too difficult as the workforce will already be familiar with the basic concepts. However, an organization that does not have a strong data culture will struggle if the entire plan is started at once. Evaluating the levels of readiness of the different departments will be helpful in understanding the exact state of preparedness of the enterprise. It will also help identify the section from where you can begin the implementation.
2. Never Treat Governance As A Purely Technical Initiative
A big reason why these strategies fail is that businesses treat them as purely technical initiatives. The IT section is entrusted with all the responsibilities like quality assessment and stewardship. This is an incorrect approach as governance requires the correct balance of business and technical sections to succeed. The basic reason for planning a monitoring program is to facilitate the availability of consistent data to business users. In case, the program is inefficient, ultimately it is the business users who will face the consequences. It is essential that people who understand the business value of data be a part of the program at every hierarchical level. This will ensure that the program runs efficiently and provides valuable results.
3. Define Clear Business Goals At The Outset
As mentioned before, the main objective of creating a data governance strategy is to maintain data quality. However, you need to identify the specific problems being faced by the organization in the information management program. You must then set definite goals for your monitoring scheme. For instance, the customer service department complains that the postal address data of various consumers is missing zip code. Then your goal must be to ensure that every address that is being gathered must be entered in the database only with the postal code. When you link your program with such clear objectives, the organization also sees the exact benefits of the plan. This leads to greater acceptance of the scheme across the workforce.
4. Do Not Implement Without A Change Management Plan
Even if your organization has a healthy data-centric culture, the new program will be a massive change for the workforce. People will have to discard old tools and processes. They will have to adapt to new techniques and systems. Shifting to a new approach will require some time and effort. You must have a change management plan in place to make sure the transition happens without too much trouble. Create training programs to familiarize people with new tools and processes. Provide extensive documentation about every aspect of the program so that they can refer to it to clear their doubts. Make sure you provide the schedule of implementation well in advance so that the departments can make suitable preparations.
5. Get Executive Sponsorship At The Planning Stage
Governance will require the participation of employees at all levels to succeed but it is essentially a top-driven initiative. You must get executive sponsorship for your program while planning it. Once you have identified the business issues that you are going to solve with the plan, prepare a presentation which highlights the fact. Make sure you explain the benefits in terms of costs. This will get the key decision-makers to support the initiative and facilitate its implementation.
6. Keep Scaling In Mind While Planning
Your data assets will only grow and become more versatile with time. Moreover, your enterprise will also discover new data-related requirements and uses. It is essential that your program can be scaled up easily. Make sure that all the technical processes and tools you are choosing can be easily adapted to the growing needs of your business.
Executing a data governance strategy requires a well-thought approach that takes into consideration the actual situation of your organization. Use the suggestions discussed here to prepare a roadmap that will help you in rolling out the plan smoothly.