Ema Castellari works in Data Governance & Management área in Hiberus the fastest growing technology consultancy in Spain. She holds a degree in System Analyst from UTN, and has completed several postgraduate courses in BI and Data Governance. Her last certification was CDMP Practitioner Certified (Dama). She has worked in BI for over 15 years in several industries such as retail, public administration, bank, etc, and started to work in Data Governance approximately 4 years ago supporting organizations to define their Data Strategy through global Data Governance programs, managing them as strategic assets, promoting the democratization of information, in an end-to-end vision that includes the development of data in the complete life cycle, reducing costs and increasing their profits, ensuring optimal decisions, with quality, available, safe, and accurate data. She considers herself as a true data lover!
CID is predicting that the Global Data Sphere, the sum of all data created, captured, or replicated in central, perimeter, and terminal locations, will grow from 33 ZB in 2018 to 175 ZB by 2025, this certainly generates a point of attention on how we treat data in organizations, otherwise, the information will grow steadily, therefore, decisions will be biased and in many cases inaccurate, leading to the failure of business strategies, causing economic losses, unmotivated workers, high turnover rate, and even damage to the company’s reputation.
Said that, it is necessary to reconsider the approach : Data Governance is, in a very short definition, the execution of the authority over the data (DAMA), but… we don’t do it over the data in concrete, the data is not governed itself, the metadata is not defined itself, the quality rules and the policies either, we have to involve people who manage, define and implement these tasks.
So we can define that the behavior of people over data is the most important aspect to be governed to achieve this foundational change in the culture of the organization.
Thus, we could open the concept of “DATA” Governance to “PEOPLE” Governance, this definition focuses on formalizing behaviors, integrating and making responsible, involving people in the process at every moment, generating a Superior Data Culture, aligned with the organizational objectives, where proper data management is natural in the whole organization.
How do we involve people in this process?
- Data governance shouldn’t be invasive, and something very important to keep in mind is that it mustn’t be “imposed“, this can generate a lot of resistance and lack of participation and commitment, for the initiatives to work in the medium to long term we have to work with the members of the organization ” to convince them” of the benefits of having a Data Governance strategy, and how it will improve their daily work.
- People may resist change, especially if it involves changes in processes or in the way things are done, there is an installed philosophy: “What works isn´t to be touched”. It is necessary for every member to understand the “why and what things are done for” and the consequence of not doing them correctly, developing a Change Management Plan that communicates, integrates, and trains the organization from the beginning of the Data Governance initiatives, to achieve this, it is essential that all employees who create, transform, and/or consume data have full knowledge of the goals and objectives of each data product, if they’re not properly defined or are not aligned with the priorities and strategy of the company, it may be hard to get the support and adoption necessary for Data Governance Program to be successful.
- The active leadership that supports the strategy defined to implement data governance is highly important, the support and commitment of each of the participants bring value and achieve collaboration, the leader, through constant listening, is able to identify and effectively address conflicts and help to quickly overcome challenges by taking preventive and corrective actions in a timely manner. In turn, program participants should be honest and open about the limitations, challenges, and other effects of data governance decision-making, so that nobody will feel left out or discouraged in their work.
- It is a serious mistake to suppose that Data Governance initiatives are only the responsibility of the IT area. It is important to involve all areas by setting up a Committee or a Data Office with members from each department to analyze together the usual problems and needs, establishing work standards and problem-solving shared by the entire organization, this will generate speed and a better dynamic in the day-to-day work of all the people who deal with data.
- Another important aspect is to ensure that the organization has the appropriate technology to be able to apply Data Governance, by developing the necessary skills and expertise within the organization to effectively take advantage of digital technologies, otherwise, technical developments for tasks such as profiling and cataloging can be complex and take a long time to develop and may not have the expected result, and this may cause demotivation and a lack of commitment.
As a result, working with this approach will provide the following organizational benefits:
The full trust of the data: Trusted data is the foundation for decisions to be made, when business users participate in data initiatives, trust the data, and are willing to share information and knowledge, technical, operational, and strategic decisions will be the best.
Achieving maximum value: The analyses and interpretation of data allow us to identify opportunities and emergent trends in the market, producing positive insights, by quickly discovering patterns, correlations and relationships not previously evident. This helps to detect new business opportunities, adapt to market trends and stay ahead of the competition.
Improved process fluidity: The maximum value of data also translates into improvements in operational efficiency and productivity. By using data effectively, organizations can identify areas for improvement, optimize processes, reduce costs and increase overall efficiency. This is achieved by identifying bottlenecks, automating tasks, optimizing resources and deploying more efficient practices.
Information democratization: When the team has available, easily accesses and manages autonomously the largest amount of data about its sector, its customers and the market, it sets the basis for better individual and group performance and is able, at any time, to make decisions based on an accurate comprehension of what is going on around them.
Decrease of internal conflicts and frictions: If people are aware of Data Governance initiatives and participate in them, elaborating development, control and problema-solving strategies with respect to data, conflicts will inevitably decrease and there will be a better climate in the organization’s teams.
Risk reduction: Data analytics can help organizations to identify and mitigate potential risks, with the right data, organizations are able to identify risk patterns, detect fraud, predict unusual behavior and take preventive measures, facilitate compliance with applicable regulations and standards, and avoid penalties and legal risks.
In summary, in order to involve people in effective Data Governance initiatives, it is necessary to establish a communication and training plan, define roles, responsibilities and clear ownership structure so that the procedures are effective and provide the necessary technological support, people are the fundamental asset of the organization, those who really give value to the information, so it is necessary to involve the teams that work with data to maximize its value.