Non-Invasive Data Governance (NIDG), like the popular Netflix series Stranger Things, offers a mysterious and complex reality for organizations to navigate. I am often asked how it is possible to navigate these realities and implement NIDG in the real world. NIDG involves unraveling the intricacies of management, quality, security, and compliance.
Just as the characters in the show explore the “Upside Down” (as compared to the “Real World”), organizations must venture into the lesser-known corners of their data environment to ensure order and maximize the value of their data assets.
In this light-hearted essay, I compare non-invasive data governance to several of the main storylines of the cable television show and then do a deeper dive into comparable NIDG roles some of the character in the series would play in a non-invasive program. I hope you enjoy the quick divergence.
The frightening, but at the same time fun-to-watch, themes of Stranger Things — in terms of Non-Invasive Data Governance, include:
- The Upside Down (Reverse Dimension) Legacy Systems — Legacy systems can be the Upside Down of data governance, trapping organizations in outdated technology and processes. Organizations must modernize their data infrastructure, embrace new technologies like cloud computing and AI, and ensure seamless integration between systems. This transition empowers organizations to harness the full potential of their data assets.
- The Non-Invasive Data Governance Journey — Much like the journey of the Stranger Things protagonists, implementing non-invasive data governance requires determination and collaboration. It involves defining a clear governance strategy, establishing roles and responsibilities, and setting up robust processes and policies. Organizations must delve into the depths of their data infrastructure, bringing order to chaos and establishing a solid foundation for non-invasive data governance.
- Data Monsters Lurking — Similar to the eerie creatures lurking in the Upside Down, organizations face their own data monsters. These include inconsistent data definitions, poor data quality, lack of data ownership, siloed data, and compliance risks. These monsters can lead to a distorted reality, hampering decision-making, jeopardizing customer trust, and hindering business growth.
- The Heroes of Non-Invasive Data Governance — To combat these data monsters, organizations need their own set of heroes, just like the courageous characters in Stranger Things. These heroes are the data stewards, data subject matter experts, data governance office, and people who champion the cause of data governance.
- The Demogorgon (Creature) of Data Quality — One of the most formidable challenges organizations face is the (Dungeons & Dragons-like) Demogorgon of data quality. Poor data quality and lack of confidence can infiltrate every aspect of an organization, leading to inaccurate insights and flawed decision-making. Implementing data quality management processes and leveraging data cleansing and profiling techniques can help slay this Demogorgon, ensuring data accuracy and reliability.
- The Mind Flayer (Protector) of Data Privacy and Security — Just as the Mind Flayer seeks to control and manipulate; organizations must protect their data from external threats and comply with privacy regulations. Establishing robust data security measures, implementing access controls, and adhering to data privacy laws are essential to shield against the Mind Flayer’s influence.
In non-invasive data governance programs, various roles can be generalized based on the characters in Stranger Things. These include the Chief Data Office(r), the Data Stewards (similar to the group of kids ;), the Data Subject Matter Experts, and even the Executive Sponsor.
Comparing the characters in Stranger Things to the roles of a non-invasive data governance program may look like:
- Chief Hopper — The Chief Data (Office and) Officer: Chief Hopper, as the police chief, enforces order, investigates threats, and ensures the safety of the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana. Similarly, the office of the CDO in a NIDG program establishes and enforces rules and policies for data governance. They monitor compliance, address risks, and maintain the overall integrity and security of data.
- Mike — The Data Subject Matter Expert (DSME): Mike Wheeler plays a central role in the group, taking responsibility for the well-being of his friends and making critical decisions. Similarly, the DSME in a NIDG program oversees specific data sets or domains within the organization. They ensure the accuracy, accessibility, and usability of data while adhering to governance policies.
- Dustin — A Data Steward (Definer): Dustin Henderson, known for his curiosity and knowledge, can be compared to the role of a Data Steward in a non-invasive data governance program. The Data Definer focuses on organizing and maintaining data assets, ensuring data is labeled, classified, and documented properly for easy discovery and accessibility.
- Eleven — A Data Steward (Producer): Similar to Eleven’s abilities and her role as a powerful force within the group, the Data Steward in a non-invasive data governance program acts as a producer of data assets. They ensure quality, integrity, and compliant production of data, utilizing their expertise to assure the value of quality data.
- Lucas — A Data Steward (User): Lucas Sinclair uses his analytical skills to gather information, make informed decisions, and provide valuable insights to the group. Similarly, the Data User in a NIDG program employs data analysis tools and techniques to extract meaningful insights, identify patterns, and support data-driven decision-making within the organization.
- Joyce — The Executive Sponsor: Joyce Byers, a determined mother, fights to uncover the truth and protect her son. Similarly, the Executive Sponsor advocates for the NIDG program and champions data governance initiatives, educates peer stakeholders about its importance, and advocates for best practices, ensuring the organization’s commitment to effective data governance.
By comparing the Stranger Things characters to the roles in a non-invasive data governance program, we can see how the character’s qualities and actions align with the responsibilities of individuals involved in managing and governing data within an organization.
Non-Invasive Data Governance, like the Upside Down, can be an enigmatic world riddled with challenges. However, by adopting the mindset of the Stranger Things heroes and investing in data stewardship and non-invasive data governance practices, organizations can tame the data monsters, overcome obstacles, and unlock the true power of their data. Just as the characters of the show triumph against all odds, organizations can emerge victorious by establishing a solid non-invasive data governance foundation and embracing a data-driven culture.