Is your Data Governance program doomed to fail?

Over the last few years, I have been privileged to be part of great folks in the Data world, especially around Data Governance. Through my personal experiences as a Data Governance consultant and my interactions with fellow data governance professionals, a Data Governance program is heading for disaster if the following 4 pillars to a data governance program are not considered.

1. Establishment of Policies and Standards

2. Communication and implementation framework with other business functions

3. Documentation of key processes and controls

4. Definition of Data and System architecture to support the framework

Without all of the above pillars, the data governance program is not likely to succeed.

1) Establishment of Policies and Standards

This pillar on establishing policies and standards cover a number of strands that an organisation needs to consider for example

a) Regulations that impact the business – both current and future ( e.g. BCBS 239, FRTB)

b) Policies that are already in force in the business

c) Industry best practices

d) Consultations with all levels of stakeholders (both operational and strategic)

e) Firm’s culture and strategic vision

It is important the Policies and Standards set out the vision for the company regarding data management, at the same time make it practical to implement within a reasonable timeframe. If the policy is set out too far ahead in the future, then there is a risk that operational folks are completely switched off, also it can’t be too realistic that the individuals feel it is “more of the same”.

2) Communication and implementation framework with other business functions

This pillar focuses on how the standards and policies are implemented in each of the business functions. This is an outward facing of the data governance program, whereby the Policies and Standards are disseminated to various business functions so that they can implement them in their respective functions. This pillar tracks the roll out of the standards in various organisational policies to ensure they all are cross referenced and where required new business function policies are put in place. This pillar also establishes various governance forums and assigns roles and responsibilities amongst all business functions to ensure that the business functions adhere to the Policies and Standards.

3) Documentation of key process and controls

This pillar is mainly driven by key business functions which have the responsibility to document key processes where data is collated, analysed and reported. This documentation exercise is crucial, because this it identifies where and how Data is sourced, how they are managed and collated. The documentation should also identify items where there are End User Computing is used and depict the Data Lineage for key data items.

4) Definition of Data and System Architecture

One of the most important pillars of the Data Governance Program is to draft a framework for Data Architecture. A firm might already have an existing data model, or might want to create an enterprise data architecture model. This framework should ideally the following layers

a. Enterprise Framework,

b. Business Glossary,

c. Logical Data Model,

d. Physical Data Model

e. mapping between various layers

The above 4 pillars of data governance program as identified above should provide a solid foundation for building the data enabled organisation for the future. Don’t let your Data Governance be a sample for failure in the organisation.

If your organisation’s data governance program is in the path of disaster, contact me now to resurrect the program before its too late.

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