Deployment and Execution Challenges
The Data Governance team faces many challenges and roadblocks as it deploys the program across an enterprise or tries to sustain it post deployment. Some of the key ones are:
- Political impediments
- Aversion to change
- Lack of accountability
- Wavering organizational priorities
- Immature issue and risk management capability
- Communication challenges
- Dearth of skilled DG resources
- Lack of awareness and education about data governance, and
- Inability to communicate tangible business value
Best Practice Recommendations
Change Management – The DG Program is pervasive and introduces new processes, procedures and standards that will force change within all departments. The DG team must be sensitive that all impacted parties have a “day job” and may be required to put in extra effort to support the program. A change management plan must be developed in collaboration with the Data Trustees, Data Stewards and Data Custodians and change management experts to address questions, concerns and implementation challenges that will result from the change initiative. This plan should focus on explaining the changes required, the drivers for change, and the tangible business benefits that will accrue to individual departments and the enterprise as a result. Support mechanisms provided to employees to better handle change must be highlighted as well.
Accountability – Accountability and ownership on the part of the Data Trustees, Data Custodians, Data Stewards and other DG program support staff is critical to its success. Roles and responsibilities of each DG team member must be clearly defined. Organizational leadership and individual team members must hold each other accountable.
Issue and Risk Management – Issues and risks must be captured and prioritized using a centralized program-level tool and discussed at the appropriate levels (local council or enterprise council). Mitigation steps and options must be documented, discussed and implemented in a timely manner to mitigate risks that could put the program in jeopardy.
Communication – Develop a communication plan that clearly articulates the types of communication, their frequency and the target audience. Communicate using various channels such as email, newsletters, company intranet and brown bags. Highlight progress against goals, specific wins and the business value delivered by the DG program (e.g., single version of the truth for data definitions, fewer operational incidents, improvement in the quality of business critical data, proactive identification and remediation of data-related issues, etc.) in these forums.
Resources – DG resources need a combination of strong verbal and written communication and influencing skills and a data analysis expertise. Sourcing and staffing for the DG program can be challenging due to a dearth of skilled resources. Firms can overcome this challenge by augmenting their staff with experienced consultants or hiring staff with strong data analysis skills and training them in DG concepts, techniques and tools.
Awareness and Education – Conduct brown bags and deep dives with key stakeholders and their teams regularly to raise awareness about the program, their role in its success and industry best practices. Educate teams on the tools, techniques, procedures, data policies, data standards and processes that are available and must be complied with.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – Define critical success factors at the onset of the program and assign specific KPIs associated with them. Some program-level KPI categories that should be considered are cost savings generated, business value added, education, awareness, consistency and standardization of data semantics, program adoption, data issue process optimization, data quality metrics and trends, operational incidents, issue resolution, and compliance with data standards. Capture metrics that support the KPIs and communicate them to the senior leadership team, key stakeholders and all employees on a regular basis. This will ensure transparency and generate the “buzz” required to sustain the program.