The third and final part of the Non-Invasive Data Governance Framework details the breakdown of components by level, providing considerations for what must be included at the intersections.
The squares are completed with nouns and verbs that provide direction for meaningful discussions about how the program will be set up and operate.
Full consideration is given to the perspectives of the stakeholders that will derive value from following the Non-Invasive Data Governance approach.
Data by Level
The first foundational component of a successful Data Governance program is the data itself. When using the term data, I am including structured data that exists within databases and information systems, and unstructured data which can include any data not as traditionally stored within a database or in a file such as documents, content, audio, video, and records that require governance.
Records management is the vaguest and least understood of the disciplines I shared. The type of data that is being governed often dictates the name of the program – data governance, information governance, records management and even metadata governance. Yes, metadata governance is a real thing. I am known to say that “metadata will not govern itself”.
I will not resolve the difference between data, information and records in this framework but can proudly state that the framework addresses the core components of all of these disciplines.
In NIDG, the data that you select to govern, and the people that are presently informally accountable for that data, are the main focuses of the program. Non-Invasive Data Governance programs do not have to begin by focusing on all of the different types of data suggested here.
Traditionally, Data Governance programs have (at least initially) focused on the data in systems developed, purchased, and implemented by the IT part of the organization or within a specific department. This is the data that feeds the business intelligence and analytical platforms. Information governance often includes the metadata that explains the data. Record management as a discipline has been around as long or longer than data governance.
||People at the Executive level focus on the data that enables them to be effective leaders of the organization. Often, this data is provided in summary and/or graphical form through dashboards and reports, or through self-service portals that focus the data on a task at hand. Structured data is mainly consumed at this level for decision-making purposes and unstructured data for conditional purposes.|
||The Data Governance Council (or similarly named committee) have the authority to assure that the program is designed, developed, deployed, and maintained to provide measurable value to the organization through improved performance and other metrics. The Council are focused on the data, information, records, and metadata that the organization needs to become efficient and effective in how the data is managed as an asset. That asset can include structured and unstructured data, records, and metadata.|
||The people that participate in the tactical level roles of your program have formal accountability for data within a specific subject area or function. People at the tactical level have formal accountability for that data across business units or functional areas of the organization. The Tactical Stewards (often referred to as Data Domain Stewards) are formally accountable for how the data in their subject matter is defined, produced, and used. This data can include structured or unstructured data as well as records pertaining to the domain.|
||Operational data is what drives the business and keeps it functioning. This data can include structured and unstructured data, records, and metadata that are used by the people in the Business Units to perform their functions efficiently and effectively. The data defined, produced, and used by the business begins the pipeline to feed the data all the way to the Executive level.|
||The Support areas of the program referred to as partners provide their perspective through the function they serve. For example IT Security as a partner is focused on the security discipline associated with their function. The administration of the program requires governed metadata that assists in formalizing accountability, inventorying the data, data stewardship, and views of all aspects of the data, whether that is structured or unstructured, from the definition of the data, to the production of the data, to the use of the data.|
Roles by Level
The second foundational component of a successful Data Governance program is the definition of roles and responsibilities. The manner in which roles are defined is a predictor of the effort required to govern the data. Assignment into roles often presents pushback when the effort is considered over-and-above existing responsibilities. Identification into roles encounters less pushback as people already see themselves in the roles that they have been slotted. Recognition of people into roles is a direct manner of acknowledgement of the part each person plays in the program.
In NIDG, Roles are typically represented through a NIDG Operating Model of Roles & Responsibilities. The familiar pyramid diagram that can be found in the book Non-Invasive Data Governance; The Path of Least Resistance and Greatest Success, and often shown in the conference presentation and webinars, is represented in the second column of the NIDG Framework.
The Operating Model and accompanying artifacts provided as part of the approach include a detailed description of formalized responsibilities, escalation and decision paths, how roles are formally engaged in processes, who typically participates in the role and how much of their time is typically required, and communications that are shared with each level.
||It is the role of the Steering Committee to sponsor, approve, understand, and champion the enterprise strategic data governance plan and policy at the highest level of the organization; the Executive or Leadership level. The Committee must communicate effectively with lines of business, the expectations and requirements for governing data and identify and prioritize data initiatives. This will require significant education and understanding on the part of the Executives of your organization. The Committee delegates responsibility for strategic decision making to the Data Governance Council.|
||It is the role of the Data Governance Council to become educated in what data governance means, how it can and will work for the organization, and what it means to embrace and activate the data stewards. The Council provides guidance, presides over program activities and approves things like data policy, methods, priorities, and tools. The Council promotes governance into their areas by actively engaging in improved data practices. The Council makes data decisions at a strategic level in a timely manner given the appropriate knowledge to make that decision and meets regularly to stay informed of program activities.|
||It is the role of the Domain Steward (often referred to as Owner or Subject Matter Expert – SME) to focus on the quality, value, and protection of data that falls under a specific domain (subject area) for the enterprise. These people are identified by position and are involved/facilitators in cross-business resolution of data issues pertaining to their domain. The Domain Steward may or not be the authority (decision-maker), depending on their position in the organization. The Domain Stewards is responsible for escalating well-documented issues to the strategic level, documenting data classification rules, compliance rules, and business rules for data in their domain. The Domain Steward often participates in tactical work groups for finite periods of time to address specific issues and projects related to their domain.|
||It is the role of the operational-level Data Stewards to demonstrate accountability for their relationship to the data they define, produce, and use in their daily job. The Data Stewards are educated and often certified as knowing the rules associated with data definition, production, and usage.|
||It is the role of the Support areas of the organization, including Data Governance Leadership and the associated team, and partners across the organization including Information Technology, Information Security, Audit, Legal, Risk Management and Project Management (to name several), to administer and support the activities of the Data Governance program by being a part of working groups and teams and participating in activities appropriate for their support areas.|
Processes by Level
The third foundational component of a successful program is the way people are recognized into roles and how the roles are applied to processes. The notion of the “Data Governance process” misrepresents the fact that processes are a primary component of Data Governance success. There is not a single process that is governed; rather, there are a series of processes to which Data Governance will be applied.
In NIDG, Data Governance programs typically provide repeatable processes that reflect the appropriate level of formal accountability throughout the process. Data Governance focuses on getting the “right” person involved in the “right” step of the process to deliver the “right” result, regardless of the process focus—issue resolution, protection, quality, project-focused—Data Governance becomes the application of formal governance to processes. In NIDG governance is applied to process rather than there being a Data Governance process.
||The Executive level must be knowledgeable about the processes that are being governed and the way that they are being governed. The Executive level should understand the impact of governing the process, the resources required, and have supported / reasonable expectations for the value this will bring to the enterprise. Once the Executive level has this understanding, it is their responsibility to endorse, enforce, support, sponsor, and authorize the governed processes.|
||The Strategic level takes the Executive endorsement of governed processes to an actionable level. The Strategic level identifies and oversees the Data Governance Team’s activities and key processes and players at the Tactical level. The Council resolves process issues brought to them for Strategic decision-making and meets on a regular basis to direct, approve, review, and prioritize Data Governance process activities.|
||The Tactical level is closely engaged to manage data domains (subject areas) by utilizing enterprise Subject Matter Experts. The Tactical level initiates, facilitates, and mediates the resolution of cross-business area processes and data issues regarding their area of expertise. The Tactical level promotes, directs, and coordinates the Operational level activities of Stewards in their part of the organization and escalates issues to the Strategic level as necessary.|
||The Operational level is engaged daily in governed processes defined at the Tactical level and enforced at the Strategic level. The Operational level is educated and certified in following the processes and rules associated with managing the data (defining, producing, and using data). The Operational level reports changes in efficiency and effectiveness to the Tactical level to drive continual process improvement and follows the rules associated with the handling of classified information.|
||The Support level formalizes and enforces the governed processes. The Support level includes the Data Governance Team, Information Security, Risk & Compliance, Project Management, Legal / Audit, and other partners that assure that processes are adhered to and enforced through education and technology.|
Communications by Level
The fourth foundational component, Communications, is a very important piece of a successful Data Governance program. Raising the data awareness of every person that defines, produces, and uses data is critical to achieving program success. Education must focus on policies, handling rules, best practices, standards, processes, and role-based governance activities.
In NIDG, Communications play a role in every aspect of a program’s definition and delivery. Communications must be thorough and measurable. Communications must focus on formalizing accountability for the processes mentioned above: issue resolution, protection, quality, project-focused, or any other application of authority to how data is managed.
The Communications Plan must mirror the Roles component described in this framework. Communications must include orientation, on-boarding, and ongoing subjects focused toward the specific audience (Executive, Strategic, Tactical, Operational and Support) utilizing available communication instruments.
||Best practice dictates that the Executive levels support, sponsor, and, most importantly, understand how data governance works in the organization. To achieve this, the communications plan plays an important role. Governance information must be shared effectively so as to resonate and become adopted at the Executive level. The Executive level will only support and sponsor Data Governance if they understand the who, what, why, where, and when concerning how the NIDG program will proceed.|
||The Strategic level receives regular (scheduled) communications on governed process status. The Strategic level evaluates and approves detailed governance policy and practice through regular review of program communications and status. The Strategic level pushes communications into their business areas, commends improvements in efficiency and effectiveness and supports governed activities.|
||Governance communications focus on subject areas of data and the standards, rules, and processes associated with defining, producing, and using data in the Tactical domains. The Tactical level is involved in developing education, awareness, and governance materials focused on their subject area of data, for subject area projects and related processes across the organization.|
||The Operational level receives communications focused on how they will be held formally accountable for governing data. The Operational level follows the approved rules and governed processes while monitoring and reporting governance results. The Operational level is oriented to data governance, brought onboard at the appropriate time, and receives ongoing communications associated with governing data.|
||The Support level, including all governance-style functions of the organization, communicate appropriate formal behavior advocated by their function. The Support level coordinates with the Data Governance Team to plan, develop and deliver thorough, current, and regular communications about governing data.|
Metrics by Level
The fifth foundational component of a NIDG program is Metrics. Data Governance programs must be able to measure their impact on the organization. This is often the responsibility of the Support role, often called the Data Governance Administrator, Lead and/or Team. The impact and value of data governance may be financially quantifiable—but this may not always be the case. Measuring efficiency and effectiveness improvements requires benchmarks of present state, as well as the governed activity of measuring and reporting results.
In NIDG, Organizations measure improvements in governance through collecting and reporting the number of issues recorded and addressed and changes that are positively impacting the efficiency and effectiveness of business functions. While also quantifying the value of issue resolution, organizations quantify education, awareness, and certification of handling rules, and incidents that are formally attended to.
Data Governance metrics and measurements must be auditable and demonstrable to management and authorities when requested. Organizations typically count the reusability and understandability of data definition, the ability and speed to access the “right” data at the “right” time, the production of high quality data, and the proper usage and handling of data.
||The Executive level reviews and approves the way governance is implemented and how value is measured across the organization. The Executive level receives results from the Strategic, Tactical, and Support levels, and acts to address improvement of governance capabilities.|
||The Strategic level works with the Tactical and Support levels to define and deliver acceptable processes to measure Data Governance. The Strategic level promotes active benchmarking and delivery of measurable metrics and business value to the Executive level. Typical metrics focus on the acceptance of the program by the organization, participation of business function and key participants, and performance of organization.|
||The Tactical level defines how governance is measured in relationship to domain level quality requirements and the need to protect data in that domain or subject area. The Tactical level delivers metrics associated with domain focused quality of data definition, production, and usage across the organization.|
||The Operational level is measured in terms of accountability, efficiency, and effectiveness in defining, producing, and using data throughout their daily processes. The Operational level follows process and procedure to define, collect, report, and analyze the value of governance to the operations, individuals, and teams in the organization.|
||It is the responsibility of each Support level area to define, collect, and report effective metrics and measurements to demonstrate the governance value of the function they are providing to the organization. Value will include improvement in business operations, reduction of risk, and the ability to protect data, as well as the improvements in the value received from the data and improved analytical capabilities.|
Tools by Level
The final foundational component of a NIDG program is Tools. Tools of Data Governance enable the program to deliver value to the organization. Organizations use tools they develop internally as well as tools that they’ve purchased to fill specific needs of their programs. The tools that are developed or purchased are based on practicality, ease-of-use, and the specific goals of the Data Governance program.
In NIDG, Tools are used to formalize accountability for the management of data and improve the knowledge of the data, rules, and processes required to govern data. Tools are used to record and make available metadata in order to improve the understanding and quality of data across the Enterprise.
The Data Governance Tool market is growing as the definition of Data Governance expands to address authority enforcement over big data, smart data, metadata, and all data used for analytics. Prior to investing in new technologies, organizations should clearly state their requirements, consider leveraging existing tools, and develop tools internally to address the specific metadata needs of their Data Governance program.
||The Executive level is responsible for issuing the directive to govern data across the organization. This directive may take the form of policy and written statements outlining the Executive level’s support, sponsorship, and understanding of the core and guiding principles of data governance and the approach that will be followed by the organization. A dashboard for delivery of governance and audit results to the Executive level is valuable for program sustenance.|
||The tools of the Strategic level are artifacts that are put in place to establish formal data governance in the organization. The Strategic Level is responsible for accepting governance Best Practice, and the assessment and critical analysis of how the organization compares to the best practices and guidelines. The Strategic level accepts the action plan and roadmap for bringing the organization into alignment with proposed data governance best practices and supports the Tactical, Operational, and Support levels of the organization to achieve a best practice state.|
||The tools of the Tactical level include approved data quality standards and requirements for improving the governance of data per domain across the organization. The Tactical level is responsible for developing and promoting data requirements, standards, and governed workflows to the Strategic level for approval, and enforcement by the Support level of the program.|
||The Operational level uses metadata tools to improve their ability to define, produce, and use data as part of their daily job. The Operational level provides business definitions of data used to build business glossaries, data dictionaries, data catalogs, and other metadata resources and repositories. The Operational level assists in mapping data meaning and legacy across disparate information systems and data stores.|
||The Support level delivers tools associated with their business function, including software focused on improving the Information Technology, Information Security, Risk and Compliance, Audit, Legal, and Project Management functions. The Data Governance Administrator and Team uses vendor provided tools, customize-able templates, metadata tools and models to improve the performance of their program and maximize value of data governance.|
The Non-Invasive Data Governance Framework’s first two parts detailed the foundational components and organizational levels that must be considered to be successful with your NIDG program. The third part of the framework provides the detailed components by level.
There are many approaches to data governance. If you are not implementing data governance in a non-invasive manner, I hope the framework includes ideas that can further your data governance discipline and provide additional successes to complement your program.
This paper provides a Non-Invasive Framework for Data Governance Implementation and considerations for implementing a NIDG program. Please contact the author or KIKconsulting.com for more information about how to use this framework.