Data Professional Introspective: EDM Education – Part 2 When & How

In our last column, ‘EDM Education – Why, What & Who – Part 1,’ we addressed why EDM Education is needed, what learning objectives it should deliver, and who needs it.

In this column, we’ll talk about when it is needed – creating a business case for EDM education, creating an education plan, associated metrics, and discipline training – and how education is best conducted, learning techniques and tips to make courses interesting and effective.

Bob Seiner, President of KIK Consulting and the Publisher of, reminds us that the basic distinction between ‘education’ and ‘training’ needs clarification. In his words: “The aim of education is to familiarize people with concepts; training is what and how to do something.”

For this column, we will emphasize conceptual learning as well as touch on training for key functional skills.

Here’s a brief summary of Part 1[1]:

  • Why is EDM education needed? To achieve understanding and unanimity of purpose, direction, communication, motivation and action for a successful EDM program. Your staff is your collective first-line customer.
  • What should be the content of EDM education? Principles, program elements, fundamental practices roadmap, critical capabilities, governance, and the building blocks for data integration and analytics. What is EDM, why is it important, and what the organization has committed to doing.
  • Who needs EDM education? Anyone who ‘picks up an oar’ in the data journey (see the boat picture); stakeholders with an active role require substantive education to effectively engage in bringing the program’s vision to fruition. In addition, all staff who create or produce data should receive data awareness education and be made familiar with relevant policies and data management processes.

The diagrams below, described in Part 1, illustrate a starting outline of What and Who. We’ll return to these charts later, combining them for an education plan.

Click on image to view larger version.

Before we talk about the When and the How, I’d like to present a case study that summarizes the EDM education journey of a high-achieving organization which has planned, designed, and implemented a very successful education capability. Wells Fargo & Company has, as Peter Drucker would no doubt agree, “Done the right things; and done things right.”

Case Study:  Wells Fargo & Company

To present this summary of a strategic, practical, and successful approach to EDM education, I interviewed Bethany Parkyn, Business Enablement and Engagement (BEE) leader, Data Management and Insights (DMI), Wells Fargo & Company. Her organizational unit has led the communications and education efforts for DMI for the past three years.

I’ve had the privilege of assisting Wells Fargo in conducting three annual EDM Assessments of its Data Management and Insights program. It was a major data transformation initiative which has created and implemented an incisive and vibrant suite of enterprise-wide technologies, solutions and fundamental data management improvements. To list just a few of Wells Fargo’s accomplishments, the bank has:

  • Created and is managing to a Data Management Strategy (DMS) and roadmap
  • Established key progress and performance metrics and Board-level milestones
  • Strengthened and greatly expanded data governance across the organization
  • Engaged hundreds of staff in creating and instituting policies, processes, standards and best practices
  • Established multiple data domains with designated domain leaders
  • Assigned existing applications to domains for rationalization, evaluation, consolidation, and/or retirement
  • Implemented core authoritative data sources as provisioning hubs for a data lake
  • Implemented a comprehensive and far-reaching policy and process for discovering, evaluating, and managing data risk
  • Developed ground-breaking, best-in-class capabilities, such as implementing AI for discovery of quality rules.

In the annual EDM Assessments against the CMMI Institute’s Data Management Maturity (DMM)SM Model, Wells Fargo has demonstrated extraordinary progress in capability building and in attaining enterprise-level maturity, supported by work products of exceptional quality.

With a visionary and comprehensive data management strategy, hundreds of skilled experts in DMI, and over 260,000 employees, the need for initial and continuing education was critical to getting off the ground, powering forward, and achieving ‘escape velocity’ as major initiatives were being implemented and deployed. Therefore, the BEE education program was conceived as a shared service with a broad scope, eventually including the entire organization.

Wells Fargo is a very large organization, engaging in a massive data transformation effort.  Where did they start, and how did they proceed?

The initial mandate was to educate the entire DMI team, which has many separate, but interconnected divisions, to achieve a clear understanding of the overall direction and their team’s role in assuring progress towards the company’s data management goals, objectives, and the data management strategy and roadmap. Bethany stated that they “focused on the North Star; both what it is and the path to get there.”

DMI leadership recognized that education was paramount in creating the unified perspective required to evolve a transformational culture. The Wells Fargo DMI BEE team, accordingly, developed an education plan, which characterized the intended audiences, featured a sequence plan for rollout of educational offerings, and identified the level of content appropriate to each anticipated audience segment.

The first educational offering was “Strategy in a Box,” a clear and concise overview of the company’s data management strategy. It addressed:

  • The data challenges faced by the organization
  • How data transformation principles, goals, objectives and solution pillars addressed those challenges
  • Significant business benefits that the transformation would deliver
  • Roadmap for building capabilities and implementing solutions
  • Major workstreams within DMI
  • An outline of changes to stakeholder roles (i.e., ‘what does it mean for me?’).

This material, complemented by communicating the anticipated results of DMI’s data transformation, provided the foundation for the first in a series of “Deep Dive” presentations. Subsequent presentations focused on the core data management capabilities being developed and implemented by DMI workstreams, enhanced by more detailed milestone reporting and upcoming plans. The BEE team offered two educational sessions per month, conducted by web conference, to DMI employees and key line of business stakeholders. At this point, many individuals from across the company have attended these sessions.

 Examples of Deep Dive educational offerings include:

  • Data governance policy and structure
  • Data quality program
  • Metadata management
  • Master and reference data
  • Target data environment
  • Analytics and data science.

Deep Dive educational sessions are highly useful for DMI staff, allowing them to understand inter-dependencies across the team and identify points of contact for further information and coordination of related work. In addition, Deep Dives are available to employees from all organizational units.

Wells Fargo’s DMI organization has adopted the principle of continuous improvement and makes adjustments based on feedback, through post-session surveys, questions raised, and direct communication. Metrics established and monitored include engagement (registered audience numbers / number attended), percentage of penetration versus target, and attendee satisfaction based on survey results. Interest across Deep Dive topics are compared and monitored, and content is modified as appropriate, based on feedback.

In 2020, the BEE team is expanding its focus to create educational offerings targeting specific strategic and prioritized use cases. This answers the question “How can we provide lasting value?” by fully informing the organization of the benefits that the bank is realizing from its world-class data transformation.


A terrific success story for planning and executing EDM education, don’t you think?[2]

What About the Rest of Us?

It’s true, most organizations don’t start out as a ‘Triple Threat.’ In an ideal situation, three key factors exist as a backdrop for initiating EDM education:

1) An encompassing vision for data transformation

2) Strong executive and organizational commitment

3) Available resources who understand the data management strategy, skilled both in data management and in developing educational programs.

If your organization isn’t yet a contender for the EDM Olympics, you’ll have to engage in some preliminary preparation steps, and be prepared for some ‘boot-strapping.’[3] Let’s illustrate with a possible sample scenario:

  • You’re situated in a Data Management or Data Governance organizational unit with skilled key resources (3 in the key factors list) and some degree of executive support (a quasi-2). However, there is currently no enterprise-wide data management strategy (1).
  • The organization is launching (or expanding) data governance, and is focusing on a major initiative: consolidation of multiple operational systems in the Customer Contact domain into a vendor’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform.[4] CRM primarily affects four lines of business–Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, and Operations.
  • Your executives are receptive and willing to provide a chunk of funding for you to develop your training in-house–either solely with internal staff or supplementing with contractor resources.
  • They’ve asked you to produce justification (‘Why should we do this?’) and a plan (How and When are we going to do this?). This equates to a business case with goals, objectives, benefits, level of effort (if required) costs, and a high-level sequence plan with start and end dates.

Before you start writing–Chat with some of your key stakeholders, the intended audience(s) for your educational offerings, and if possible, some of their managers. Get a feel for their level of interest, what you think they need, and engage in some initial advocacy.

Since in this scenario, there’s no data management strategy, but there is an important program about to launch, remind them of the gains that the CRM will bring to the organization and the current problems with managing customer contacts that will be resolved. 

Then (of course) tie that to the current state of the data and associated impact on business processes–e.g., five existing operational systems, different customer service groups recording and tracking calls differently, several organizational units create customer contacts, no way to correctly aggregate customer issues, etc. The overall conclusion is: therefore, the line of business SMEs and data stewards should receive education in key concepts, principles and governance, as well as the kind of tasks they will be performing for their line of business in the consolidation and CRM migration initiative.

Now for the business case – Armed with the collective ‘Voice of the Customer,’ you will have succeeded in gaining some degree of pre-approval from relevant segments of the organization. For the EDM Education business case, I recommend that you review the DMM’s Business Case process area, as it targets the scope of an EDM program and major data-intensive efforts, and leverage your organization’s standard business case template (or a business case from a similar project). Ensure that you address these topics:

  • How the proposed project and funding request (to develop and implement educational offerings) aligns with the CRM initiative’s goals and objectives. Refer to the conclusions synthesized from your discussions with stakeholders, and include:
  • Restatement of the high-level goals and objectives of CRM
    • Summarize the problem–five customer contact systems to be integrated, with different business units, overlapping data, and no standard data management practices, staff with varying knowledge about data management practices
    • State what the anticipated results of EDM education will be, for the key governance participants and SMEs involved, to ensure the success of the CRM effort–here’s a starting list, which yields a significant ‘level set’ for participants:
      • Shared goals and objectives
      • A common understanding of the data
      • A shared terminology
      • Understanding how they will work together to develop a business glossary addressing the CRM scope–which requires ironing out differences in terms, usage, and values
      • Understanding how they will determine what metadata is important
      • Understanding how they will work together with IT to accurately map the existing systems to the CRM platform
      • Agreeing upon who is responsible for the creation of which data groupings within scope
      • How they will define the roles and responsibilities for who can modify the integrated CRM data
      • How they will define and engage in the process for discovering, specifying, and agreeing on quality rules
      • And more……. The example scenario describes a major effort, so describe every facet that you can reasonably and confidently justify.
  • Describe the benefits of what educated stakeholder groups will bring to the CRM initiative. The primary benefits to the overall project are:
    • Fostering adoption of the new platform
    • Speeding up implementation of the CRM platform
    • Deeper knowledge of the data across the relevant lines of business
    • Ensuring informed and consistent usage for all stakeholders
    • Defining how CRM data will be maintained and controlled.
  • The overall benefits above are supported by a foundation of learning, fostering a common understanding and approach for clarifying:
    • Their roles and responsibilities for the CRM program
    • How they will work together to harmonize and integrate the data
    • How they will specify shared business terms, values, data requirements, quality rules, metadata, etc.
    • How they will identify data redundancies
    • How they will govern the data–granting access, establishing permissions, adding / modifying data, escalating issues, etc.
  • Define a role-based description of the groups that will receive the educational offering(s), such as in the example chart provided. For instance:
    • Managers of the organizational units involved in the CRM effort
    • Domain (or system/data store) owners of the five existing systems
    • Key data SMEs–business and technical–drawn from the lines of business engaged in CRM
    • Recognized data stewards who will take an active role in the activities listed above
    • Key analytics team members (who are now integrating data from the five existing systems).
    • In short, analyze your stakeholder scope and add what’s necessary.
  • Estimate course costs for developing (or procuring) the classes, customizing purchased classes, and producing materials (presentations, handout, etc.)
    • Build versus buy–describe the options you’ve explored, essentially 1) Develop in-house (with or without contract resources), 2) purchase courses externally, or 3) a combination.
    • Estimate cost elements for each option
    • Recommend the best option, based on your research and stakeholder input.
  • Estimate rollout costs for publicizing, hosting, registering, and tracking course completion and results. If you recommended the in-house option, include costs for staff time, publishing and distributing educational materials, web pages, etc.
  • Estimate the timeline (high-level) to complete the education plan, aligning it with the estimated schedule of CRM data integration and platform implementation. You’ll present this in more detail with firm dates in the EDM Education Plan.
  • High-level metrics–describe indicators that will measure the success of the EDM education business case, for example: Completion progress Attendee satisfaction with the educational offering(s) Attendee satisfaction with their preparedness for the CRM initiative tasks (which can be measured during the CRM Technical Design phase, after the data management activities listed above have been mostly completed).

Succeed in getting this business case approved, and your organization will have committed to assuring an effective, efficient and sustainable CRM implementation–addressing the people and processes that support the technology.

The EDM Education Plan

Congratulations! Your business case was approved and funding has been allocated!  

Assuming you chose Option 3 (combination in-house and purchased), you can follow up (quickly) with the education plan–who, what and when. Because your business case was thorough and systematic, the education plan is primarily determining and describing the nuts and bolts  (and of course, getting it approved).

I find that it’s easier to work backwards from deadlines, so let’s add hypothetical duration and deliverable outputs for the CRM scenario: 

  • The Requirements phase for CRM implementation and data migration from existing systems will begin four months from now, and last for four months.
  • Data management outputs for the Requirements phase will include standard business terms, metadata requirements, quality rules, and source to target mapping (in collaboration with IT technical data stewards).

Before the end date of the Requirements preparation period, all key stakeholders involved in CRM should have competed their education (within four months). We’ll refer to the charts again to sketch out the sequence in your hypothetical training plan–who gets what and when.

Click on image to view larger version.

Let’s assume that you’ll offer five courses, addressing the topics in Content Highlights (green chart). Because the CRM initiative is a program-level (DMM Level 2) initiative, which involves several business lines, the course content should be based on industry-consensus EDM concepts and best practices, while illustrating specifically why they are important for the CRM implementation and how they apply.

The table below illustrates a sample sequence for our education scenario; course descriptions are contained in ’EDM Education – Why, What & Who – Part 1.’

Course Content Employee Type Estimated Duration Completion Target
EDM Principles 1. Executive Management

2. Domain / Business Leaders
1. 2 hours
2. 4 hours
First month
Data Awareness 1. Domain/ Business Data Stewards

2. IT Data Technology

3. General Staff Members
1 hour   1 and 2, Second month, 3 fourth month
Governance & Stewardship 1. Domain/ Business Data Stewards

2. IT Data Technology  
8 hours   Second month
Data Design (Logical and Source to Target Mapping) 1. Domain/ Business Data Stewards

2. IT Data Technology  
8 hours Third Month
Building EDM Capabilities[5] (in the context of CRM) 1. Domain / Business Leaders

2. Domain / Business Data Stewards
3 days   Fourth Month

A course plan and sequence similar to the table above will ensure that all staff with key roles in the organization will be equipped for effective execution of data requirements tasks, will be rowing in the same direction, and will understand why their role is important. In short, as the Girl Scout Motto advocates, they will “BE PREPARED.”

To this framework, the organization can add training in skills and technologies, for example, training in governance roles, workflow and the new software for data stewards, how to use the new data quality profiling tool, how to populate the metadata repository, etc.

It is also quite useful to offer brief seminars right before launching tasks, for example, ‘How to Define Business Terms’ before holding data working group sessions on Customer data.[6]

Let’s talk about starter metrics for your EDM education program and rollout. The ‘cheat sheet’ for creating useful metrics can be summarized by the following questions, in sequence:

  • What does GOOD look like? What result(s) constitute success?
  • How will we know if we’re successful? (e.g., what do we have to learn to find out)
  • What can we count to demonstrate success?
  • What qualitative measures can we apply to demonstrated success?
  • How will the measures and metrics[7] be presented?
  • How often will we check?
  • To whom will we present them, and in what format?

The questions above can be applied to all data management metrics. EDM metrics are very important but often neglected – for your team, to answer ‘how are we doing?’ – for your peers and business lines, to answer ‘why do you need my staff’s time?’ – and for your executives, to answer – ‘we spent this much, what value have we received?’

For the sample education plan above, your organization would probably like to know, at a minimum:

  • How many courses have been completed (for those developed in-house)?
  • What is the percentage completion for each course against targets?
  • What is the percentage representation of the lines of business involved in CRM in the courses?
  • How many individuals registered for the courses?
  • How many completed the courses in their role-based learning plan?
  • What was the attendee satisfaction score for each course?[8]
  • What were the percentages of positive comments for each question on the survey?
  • What comments about missing or desired new elements were most often received?
  • Did the satisfaction score improve over time with each session? (Because presumably you are improving the course based on feedback).

And then, if you do a follow-up survey towards the end of the CRM Requirements phase, when all of the data management tasks are complete (or mostly complete) you can ask questions about course and course module relevance to the tasks that each employee performed. This ties the bow on the business case and demonstrates success more precisely.

If you achieve all of this, you can add ‘EDM Education Leader’ to your professional qualifications, and you will fully deserve the title. 😊

Learning Techniques and Tips 

I’ve found the tips and techniques in this section to be very effective in teaching several different classes over the years, and I hope they will be useful for you to consider and incorporate where appropriate.

  • For all forms of EDM education, there is a component of terminology – the language of the disciplines and topics. Some attendees will have more familiarity with data management terms and concepts, some less, some virtually none.
    • You don’t want to put the experienced attendees to sleep, but on the other hand, they will enjoy showing their knowledge, therefore……
    • For concepts and terms, it is a good idea to employ ‘pop quizzes’ and term matching exercises early in the class.
    • For example, you can have 10 examples of metadata in column A, and 3 classifications (business, technical, operational) in column B. The student matches the examples with the three classifications.
  • There is no way around the fact that some percentage of class time will be spent in lecturing, because one of your objectives is ‘injecting digestible concepts’ (aka, ‘concept stuffing,’ like fitting tiny presents in a Christmas stocking).
    • You don’t need to apologize for this just because it has become popular in educational theory to emphasize ‘learning by doing’ over all else.
    • However, listening is hard work because there are limits to attention and focus
    • You should plan the course such that the lecturing segments are brief (10-15 minutes max), bookended by exercises, and lectures should not consume over 30% of class time.
  • State clear learning objectives at the outset.
    • Tell them what the course content will teach them–A, B, C
    • Communicate the benefits of learning it–D, E, F
    • Make it practical–what will they be equipped to DO, or DO BETTER?
    • Ask them what they expect to receive from the course
    • Then meet their expectations. 😊
  • Research, and have ready (aka, actually rehearse) as many real-world examples as you can to illustrate your points
    • I pepper all of my classes with scads of examples. Sometimes the examples are the last part of a sentence [concept-example]. Sometimes scenarios are drawn from real organizations
    • For instance: ‘A Federal agency executive bought a vendor’s ERP system but didn’t plan for mapping, consolidation and migration; the project went far over schedule and budget.” (You would follow up by telling them how to avoid this disaster).
    • You’ll know that the examples are effective when you see glassy-eyed looks (whaaaaa?) transform into expressions of interest.
    • Body language[9] -are they restless? Time for a short break or an active exercise.
  • Learning by doing – this cements the concepts you’re communicating with stipulative examples, exercising the creative function which grounds theoretical knowledge
    • Scenarios – brief scenarios 1-3 paragraphs, are excellent avenues to illustrate concepts and best practices. I use scenarios as group exercises, sometimes offering a choice of several and the class learns from each group
    • Apply concepts – using a scenario or case study, assign individual or team tasks, for example, providing examples of data quality dimensions, and applying dimensions to a data set with proposed quality rules.
    • Case Studies – are highly recommended. Two of my advanced classes are based on a made-up organization, with a business description, aspirational goals, and key roles descriptions. It features defined business drivers, persistent problems, and data architecture / management / governance ‘breadcrumbs’ are sprinkled throughout.
    • Create work products – class attendees receive high value from creating high-level work products.
      • For example, they can create a Data Management Strategy outline from a template, with team representatives walking through the outline and explaining the rationale for what was proposed. This generates lots of energy and everyone learns
      • Many students have used group outlines as a launch point for implementation in their organizations.
    • Consulting skills – as ‘data people,’ we are perennially in sales mode. This has been true for decades and hasn’t changed yet. Let’s get good at it, eh?
      • Presentations – I ask teams to analyze a scenario and present a couple of slides summarizing their conclusions with the intent to convince.
      • Interviewing – we have to communicate effectively with executives and senior leaders, so a mock interview role-play (where the pitch will be challenged) is a good rehearsal for the Elevator Pitch.
      • Facilitation – students learn most quickly when they are responsible for leading, so assign teams to study and then teach a class segment.
      • Governance – have teams role-play opposing views about data issues or requirements according to provided scenarios, and ask them to take turns facilitating agreement.

Be creative, leverage everything you’ve learned from past classes (on any topic) and enjoy crafting an interesting experience for your students.

Delivery Methods

Most of the classes I’ve taught have been conducted in person, and I think that is preferable, because the attendees are more likely to ‘catch the data obsession’ from a sincere advocate who is projecting confidence and certainty. However, having also taught over web conferencing, and even by telephone, I believe that the ‘lack of direct energy transfer’ can be overcome by introducing more brief exercises, team breakout sessions, and short breaks.

For education at scale–for large or multi-national organizations–a sound foundation can be set with packaged computer-based learning. This delivery method has the advantage of self-service and self-paced, convenient in today’s increased remote environment, and it can be supplemented with instructor-led class modules and facilitated discussion of class assignments. In sum, a robust and sustainable EDM Program requires education, education, and more education. Learning can continue through recorded presentations, webinars, and deeper treatment of noteworthy subjects, such as introducing newly implemented data management policies and processes. I wish you every success in your organization’s educational journey.

[1]  EDM Education – Part 1 – Why, What & Who

[2] DataWise’s baseline question for the organizations we serve is “What does GOOD look like?” You must forge a vision of the desired future state if you want to define the best path to harnessing your data assets.

[3] Way back in my college days, I knew several people who followed Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. They told me that he said (paraphrasing) ‘Taste the bliss of meditation and it will become a habit.’

[4] In the DMM, functional practices are parsed into Levels, which are specific process achievements but also reflect implementation scope – Level 1 = project-based, Level 2 = program or line of business based, and Level 3 =  organization- wide. This scenario scope is Level 2 – progress can be reused for programs and the enterprise.

[5]  The Building EDM Capabilities course entitles the student to take the Enterprise Data Management Association (EDMA) certification exam. Building EDM Capabilities provides a course description.

[6]  The educational portal DataVersity has expanded its offerings of online learning plans and specific skills concentration courses. You can research potential courses and recommend them as part of the education plan. Or, if you have the resources available, you can develop courses in-house for ease of alignment and customization.

[7] Typically, a measure is a basic count or simple percentage, a metric is calculated, e.g. the rate of satisfaction score increase on a survey over three months.

[8] Definitely do a survey and ensure that each attendee completes it. Feel free to email me at the address in my bio below for a sample.

[9] As Ursula said to Ariel in The Little Mermaid, “Never underestimate the importance of BODY LANGUAGE!”

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Melanie Mecca

Melanie Mecca

Melanie Mecca, CEO of DataWise Inc., an Enterprise Data Management Council Partner and Authorized Instructor for DCAM certification courses, is the world’s most experienced evaluator of enterprise data management programs. Her expertise in evaluation, design, and implementation of data management programs has empowered clients in all industries to accelerate their success. As ISACA/CMMI Institute’s Director of Data Management, she was managing author of the DMM and has led 35+ Assessments, resulting in customized roadmaps and rapid capability implementation. DataWise provides instructor-led courses leading to DCAM certification, as well as for data stewardship and the proven Assessment method that she developed. DataWise offers a suite of eLearning courses for organizations aimed at elevating the data culture and providing practical skills to a large number of staff. Broad stakeholder education is the key to data management excellence! Visit to learn more.

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