Saturday, November 15, 2014

Out of the Box Data Governance

To implement effective data governance you need to think out of the box. I don't mean just being creative and finding new innovative ways of doing things, which by its own right - is great. Rather, I am referring to thinking out of the box of your responsibilities. You have a certain responsibility to look after the data under your custodianship - and that can easily be blurred by your team's performance indicators.

We all have a role in data governance, because we all manage data. Whether you direct teams that implement solutions, manage resources that operate solutions, build new solutions or ensure solutions are operating as needed on a daily basis. What you do, and how you evaluate your success has a direct impact on the fitness of the data for its usage. If your team's goals are not fully aligned to serve the intended usage of the data - your priorities will not best-serve the effective and efficient usage of the data.

Take for example, a business that sells products under warranties. The manufacturer has an interest in knowing who actually purchased the product, but the retailer might only care about sales and customer loyalty. The retailer will prioritize in-shop experience, products quality, variety and pricing which would make it harder for the manufacturer to capture accurate data on the end consumers. To address this challenge manufactures learned to rely on end users to provide purchase information as a means of maintaining the important connection between them and the consumer. This only works, if the consumer sees value in registering their product. In other instances, the manufacturer would have to depend on the retailer to collect this type of information. The only way this will work is if the manufacturer provides a benefit to the retailer for collecting this information on their behalf. What we see in this second case is the manufacturer influencing the responsibilities by aligning their information needs with their partner's objectives.

In any data handling operation, the level of fitness of the data for its intended usage is directly dependent on the knowledge workers ability and motivation to support this usage. This is why data governance is important, and this is why understanding the context of the data from both a consumer and a manufacturer perspective is important.

If your knowledge workers think only inside the box, either due to lack of motivation or constraints of your business operating model, ask yourself if you are really delivering the value proposition your information handling is offering? If you cannot even answer this question, maybe it is time to think about how you measure the success of your information handling processes, and what you need to do to get people to think outside the box.

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