Practical Points from the DGPO: Data Resolutions for 2017

DGPOHappy New Year from the DGPO! We hope you had a fantastic holiday season. We are looking forward to making 2017 another great year with you.

There is no question that data governance requires an enormous amount of resolve throughout the entire year, but researchers at the University of Scranton (reported by statisticbrain.com) shared the four most common types of New Year’s resolutions and they have an uncanny relevance to data governance. In reverse order, here are the most common types of resolutions people made for 2016 and how they apply to the world of data governance.

#4 Relationship related resolutions – Connections matter. Relationships matter. While process and technology are definitely important, when it comes data governance, people will make or break it all. Successful data governance requires coordination and collaboration from across all areas of the business. It is your responsibility to foster the relationships and keep everyone engaged. Some relationships (as we all know) require more effort than others. In order for you to achieve your data governance goals, it will require the efforts of many people. You are going to need them – all of them. The value you receive from your relationships is directly related to the investment you put into building and maintaining them. (Momma tried to teach us this one along the way – some just learned it earlier than others.)

#3 Money related resolutions – Make more and spend less – resolutions that top the list for individuals and businesses alike. If only data governance was seen as a profit center, right? Unfortunately, when positioned from data and technical perspectives, data governance programs are often seen as cost centers, which eventually has certain demise.

When it comes to gaining, maintaining, or growing the budget for data governance, there are two surefire ways to success. The first is to link to funded business initiatives where data governance can advance or have significant positive impact for defined requirements. When data governance is positioned in the terms of specific business needs, decision makers and stakeholders that would often be naysayers cannot say no.

The second guaranteed way to achieve budgetary goals, is to self-fund or fund forward. There are many ways to demonstrate ROI in data governance initiatives from resources saved based off of corrected data quality errors or to revenue generated from more accurately targeted marketing campaigns. Build in to your roadmap and detail in your strategic plan how the money saved or generated from current initiatives will be used on future projects. If you don’t have a plan for how the money resulting from your data governance efforts will be used, someone else will.

#2 Weight Related Resolutions – Too much weight or a little extra bulge in unwanted areas? Maybe your data governance program has taken on a little more than it can chew. Or maybe you just can’t squeeze in any more.

It is not uncommon as data governance programs mature for there to be plates that are way too full (pun intended). Not even the best prioritization activities can manage the burgeoning requests for the data governance team. Your success may become your greatest threat.

Like all good weight-related resolutions, exercise is compulsory. When it comes to shedding the data governance bulk, it is an exercise of delegation of both responsibility and authority. Ideally, your data governance framework should be designed such that data decisions and functions are pushed to the lowest level possible. This means that once defined, the data governance team should expect to offload responsibilities throughout the business. The benefits of effective delegation are twofold – it helps bake data governance into the business culture and it frees up your data governance team to take on new projects.

#1 – Self-Improvement or Education-Related Resolutions – Finding areas for improvement in your data governance or data stewardship programs may not be hard, but putting a development plan in place to do so can prove to be more than challenging.

Change is not easy for folks, so the burden will rest on you to make your data governance self-improvement resolutions palatable and attainable. Make sure to communicate why the improvements you are making are relevant to all individuals and business units impacted. Communicate changes in their terms – why it matters and what’s in it for them. Ensure that you are very specific and clear about your expectations and timelines, and that you provide sufficient clarity around roles and responsibilities. Be prepared for some to “run off track” or “fall off the wagon.” It will not be their intention to not stick to your plan, but as with most resolutions, sticking to it will be the hardest part. The University of Scranton study found that only 8% of people are successful at achieving their resolution. It’s going to take even more work to get others to help you achieve your data governance goals.

Training and education resolutions are fantastic for personal growth and development. If you want to help bolster your data governance efforts, provide more training and education opportunities for all involved. Lunch-and-learns are great ways to share progress and infiltrate data governance essentials into everyday business. Formalized training sanctioned by HR is also an excellent way to ensure data handlers are exposed to the most current requirements, especially if related to compliance and regulation.

The trick to making and keeping resolutions is to be realistic and allow room for stumbling. The goals are tough and achieving them requires a lot of effort. Build and foster relationships. Delegate appropriately and make sure you are ready and willing to provide all the support and reinforcements needed. They are, after all, working to help you achieve your resolutions. Cheers!

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. – Oprah Winfrey

Anne Buff
DGPO, VP Communications


The DGPO is a non-profit, vendor neutral, association of business, IT and data professionals dedicated to advancing the discipline of data governance. If you would like more information on joining the DGPO, please check out the DGPO Website.

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About Data Governance Professionals Organization

The DGPO is a non-profit, vendor neutral, association of business, IT and data professionals dedicated to advancing the discipline of data governance. If you would like more information on joining the DGPO, please check out the DGPO Website.

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