Recently I was watching a Chicago Cubs game when I saw this:

I think most people watch that and think the same thing: “I don’t want to be THAT guy. No one should be THAT guy.  There are rules about that kind of stuff.” But, as the video shows, there really AREN’T rules about that kinda stuff, and at the end of the day, often, something as simple as a free ball at a baseball game inhibits the worst kind of tribal behavior imaginable.

Now, think about the data in your enterprise.

Data is getting bigger, faster, appears in more shapes and formats and comes from more sources. In addition, it is increasingly important for the business to access – both for operational and analytical purposes. However, the necessary data may be managed by IT or another business unit in the enterprise.

You may be a contributor or a stakeholder, but chances are, the owners of the data you rely on are not about to give it up to someone just because it would be the “right thing” to do. Or, maybe your organization IS that guy and wants the ball all to yourself.

But shouldn’t there be rules about that kinda stuff? Shouldn’t there be a process to ensure that every organization in the business can consume the high-quality data it needs?  And, shouldn’t that process establish a framework for collaboration, and help define lineage, ownership, and stewardship.

Treat data as an actionable asset.

Data is arguably the most valuable resource that any business owns. But, if the data is not accessible, up-to-date, or high-quality, can the business rely on it to make informed decisions or feed operational systems to make business processes more efficient?

In order to achieve the desired state of collaboration and data governance, IT should focus on helping business stakeholders take ownership in ways that are easy to understand, practical, and effective, rather than concentrating on technology alone as a cure.

Goals of Data Governance

Previously, we investigated what Master Data is and the processes and technologies that support the gathering and using master data in business and analytical processes. Data governance provides the policies to support ongoing MDM initiatives and allow for those initiatives to scale and succeed including:

  • Define, approve, and communicate data strategies, policies, standards, architecture, procedures, and metrics
  • Track and enforce conformance to data policies, standards, architecture, and procedures
  • Sponsor, track and oversee the delivery of data management projects and services
  • Manage and resolve data-related issues
  • Understand and promote the value of data assets

But, of course, the bottom line goal of Data Governance is to address common business problems like increasing sales, reducing costs, and improving data security, privacy and compliance with internal and external rules and regulations.

Introducing a Series Focused on Data Governance

Over the next few months, we will turn our focus on this blog to the key elements that make a Data Governance program successful:

  • Defining data to be governed and policies to govern that data
  • Establishing a Data Governance Operating Model
  • Implementing Data Stewardship and Data Quality
  • Data Sharing

Oh, and about that Cubs’ fan who “stole” the ball from the kid in the earlier video? Turns out he really wasn’t such a bad guy after all.  After this video went viral, people who sat near the man spoke up to say that their section received quite a few foul balls that afternoon – and the man had helped kids around him, including the one in the video, retrieve half a dozen foul balls before he decided to keep one for himself. So, maybe things aren’t always what they seem – and maybe you DO want to be THAT guy.