In 1989, Stephen Covey published a book entitled “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” that had a tremendous reception. Chances are good that you have both read the book and benefited from its message. As a directive for healthy social interactions, the recipe for success outlined in the book can be applied to just about any endeavor involving a group of people working together. I would contend that data governance is no exception. Namely, a business aiming to implement a highly successful data governance program will make sure to practice habit number two: “Begin with the End in Mind”.

Now, it’s a bit misleading to talk about envisioning the “end” of data governance from the beginning, since there is no end to data governance in a company that is performing it properly. I don’t remark upon the eternal nature of data governance in order to discourage anyone, but to bring to the general attention that a governance strategy, even after a point of maturity, must be maintained and allowed to evolve, and it is precisely this evolution of data governance that must be taken into account in the planning phase. Below, for your consideration, are two ways in which you can begin your data governance project with the “end” in mind.

Don’t Design Data Governance for Your Company

This seems a foolish note of caution. After all, if an organization isn’t supposed to craft a governance program to suit itself, for whom should it be crafted? As you are envisioning your data governance strategy, it is of utmost importance that it meets the needs not only of your company as it presently exists, but of your company as it will likely exist as it carries out the all-important commission of utilizing its most valuable non-human asset.

As your governance matures and the related data operations are made more efficient, growth will naturally occur in the company. Insights will be obtained more easily and new opportunities for expansion will be illuminated as a result. This growth, coupled with the general forward trend in the technology sector, allows industrious companies to integrate not only with a greater volume of data, but also with a wider variety of data sources. Ensure that your data governance strategy is designed to provide capacity for these novel data sets and collection methods as they become available.

Prepare to Let Your Data Do the Work

In the absence of reliable information and standardized interpretation of your data, confusion abounds, provoking a tangle of communication among the decision makers in the business to determine the source of disparity in reporting of key performance indicators. Is the data unreliable, or are we just interpreting them differently?

In the beautiful era of data governance, these crises are nothing but dim memories. No longer are we forced to make routine decisions at the snail’s pace of inter-departmental meetings, and the days of laborious and time-consuming manual validation of data are long gone. Or are they?

While an organization’s use of data may evolve to allow for agile reactions to changes in the market, the business leaders that have always been in the position of deciding how to react may find it difficult to let go of old and obsolete habits. Executives, vice presidents, managers, and other business leaders that have spent years or decades manually performing routine analysis and decision making will not effortlessly adapt to the freedom provided by data-driven operations.  And that’s okay.  It’s far better in the long run for a company to understand how their leaders’ roles will change as their data governance evolves.

Think Data Insights is here to support and guide your organization to create a strong data governance strategy and prepare to let your data do the work.