From time-to-time, TDAN.com will share oldie but goodie articles as Features that are relevant for the times. This article, written by yours truly Bob Seiner, was originally published in mid-2008 (have I really been talking about NIDG that long?). Besides for a refresh and a few quick updates, this article was popular then and hopefully it will still be of interest to people now.
Several years have passed since the original article was published and Non-Invasive Data Governance™ programs – or components of NIDG – have been implemented at many places internationally during that time. In October of 2014 I published my first book – Non-Invasive Data Governance: The Path of Least Resistance and Greatest Success – with Technics Publications. I hope to make an updated version of that book available in the near future.
How the heck can data governance be non-invasive? I am still getting this question a lot these days. In fact more than 90% of the people that attend my sessions at DATAVERSITY and Data Governance Conferences (hosted by DATAVERSITY and DebTech International) tell me that the term Non-Invasive Data Governance™ is what attracts them to my writings and the session they are attending. They walk out at the end of the sessions as believers. Let me answer this question quickly and to the point …
Non-Invasive Data Governance™, the approach I follow to implement Data Governance programs and the approach that I write about a lot on TDAN.com, focuses on formalizing existing accountability for the management of data and improving formal communications, value and quality efforts through effective cross-organization stewarding of data resources.
I define Data Governance as “the execution and enforcement of authority over the management of data and data-related assets.” This definition is viewed as scary and too aggressive by many organizations. The truth is that at the end of the day organizations must “execute and enforce” authority over their data for their Data Governance program to become and stay effective. I am not saying that you should use this definition but my suggestion is that you give your definition some teeth, or some muscle, or that the definition give people a reason to sit forward in their chairs to ask what we mean by these words.
I define Non-Invasive Data Governance™ as “the practice of applying formal accountability & behavior to assure quality, effective use, compliance, security and protection of data.” Non-Invasive describes how governance is applied to assure non-threatening management of valuable data assets. The goal is to be transparent, supportive and collaborative.
Many organizations view Data Governance as being over-and-above normal work efforts and threatening to the existing work culture of the organization. It does not have to be that way.
Many organizations have a difficult time getting people to adopt data governance best practice because of a common belief that data governance is about command-and-control. It does not have to be that way.
While I firmly state that data governance is “the execution and enforcement of authority over the management of data”, nowhere in that definition does it say that the approach to implementing Data Governance has to be invasive or threatening to the work, people and culture of the organization. It does not have to be that way.
Non-Invasive Data Governance™ can be summed up in a few quick statements:
With Non-Invasive Data Governance – Data steward responsibilities are identified and recognized, formalized and engaged according to their existing responsibility rather than being assigned or handed to people as more work. Everybody may be a steward. Ask me why.
With Non-Invasive Data Governance – The governance of data is applied to existing policies, standard operating procedures, practices, and methodologies … rather than being introduced or emphasized as new processes or methods.
With Non-Invasive Data Governance – The governance of data augments and supports all data integration, privacy, risk management, business intelligence and master data management activities rather than imposing inconsistent rigor to these initiatives.
With Non-Invasive Data Governance – Specific attention is paid to assuring senior management’s understanding of a practical and non-threatening yet effective approach to governing data that will be taken to mediate ownership and promote stewarding of data as a cross-organization asset, rather than the traditional method of “you will do this”.
With Non-Invasive Data Governance – Best practices and key concepts of the non-threatening approach are communicated effectively, compared to existing practices to identify and leverage strengths and enable the ability to address opportunities to improve.
Data Governance, by the mere inclusion of the term “governance,” requires the administration of something. In this case, Data Governance refers to the administering of discipline around the management of data. Rather than making the discipline appear threatening and difficult, my suggestion is to follow a Non-Invasive Data Governance™ approach that focuses on formalizing what already exists and addressing opportunities to improve.
For more information on the Non-Invasive Data Governance™ approach, please reach out to me directly or visit KIK Consulting & Educational Services (The Home of Non-Invasive Data Governance™), take a look at my book, and/or attend a Real-World Data Governance webinar that I hold regularly with DATAVERSITY on the third Thursday of each month. I hope to see you there or at a future event.
Non-Invasive Data Governance™ is a trademark of Robert S. Seiner and KIK Consulting & Educational Services.