Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Data is not flat: Data Governance - Shifting perceptions

You finally get that meeting with the prospective executive sponsor for Data Governance. What are you going to say? How critical Information Management is? How Data Governance is central to everything the organization does? Sounds good!

But hold on just a second. Does s/he know what data management is all about? Does s/he understand the link between inefficiencies, the cost of poor data quality and Data Management? Would s/he even care?

There are two critical points you need to consider before trying to pitch the glory of Data Management: 1) People have their own agenda 2) Data management is mostly a cultural shift.  

1. Ensure you understand what is important to the people who need to mandate, govern and steward data management activities. This will give you the ability to position data management in a way which makes sense to them, and in a way which will help them realize their agenda.

2. To challenge the cultural shift - be patient and consistent. Every conversation, presentation and delivery around Data Management will bring someone closer to understanding the curvature in the  world of data. Be willing to compromise the  definition and the process for the sake of progress. Through the evolution, provided your strategy is solid, the pieces will start falling into place.    

The only way you can hope to succeed in shifting perceptions around data governance is by focusing on an incremental short-term value-add based approach. The notion of efficiency through effective management of data makes intuitive sense. However, you are not likely to get attention from people, unless you can provide them with short-term benefits.

So remember, you are trying to explain to people the world is round, while they honestly believe it's flat.

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