WHO SHOULD “OWN” DATA GOVERNANCE?
There are three commonly used approaches on who oversees data governance that are effective depending on the situation.
The first approach is to have a Chief Data Officer as the sole authority for creating and enforcing the rules. This approach can work well for smaller organizations or companies who aren’t managing large quantities of different types of data. However, as organizations grow, it can create several challenges. First is bandwidth issues, it can be a bottleneck if one executive, or even one team is responsible for everything that has to do with data in a large organization. Second is the CDO’s ability to understand the role of data in all areas of the business so that he or she can make the best decisions. Lastly, many organizations benefit from an “entrepreneurial” culture in which it's not acceptable to have one person making unilateral decisions about something as critical as data.
The second approach is to have a data governance committee with representatives from each business unit to handle making and overseeing the rules. This can be effective as long as someone has dedicated time to manage the activities of the committee. The challenge with this approach is scheduling and agreement. Since a group of people are required to make a decision, this approach could slow down the decision-making process if the participants are not available to meet fairly often and/or have difficulty coming to alignment.
Finally, there is the hybrid approach, which is a good compromise for many large companies. This approach has one person capable of making quick decisions on matters of low to moderate importance and has a committee that can bring a broader perspective and give their final signoff for any significant new rules and changes to the rules. It’s a lot like our own government where we have the executive branch with authority to make many decisions and rules, but the most important changes have to go to Congress.
GOVERNANCE DOES NOT GUARANTEE SUCCESS
Are you getting excited about governance? Well slow down because it’s not a silver bullet to all your data problems. Even if you have the right rules in place, you still need to be sure you are collecting the right data, have the right technology to store and manage it, and create applications that can leverage the data in a way that makes a difference for your business. Nevertheless, governance is a foundational component of data success.
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