People-Centric Data Governance Functions
Successful data governance leaders and teams encompass a very unique people-centric skill set to ensure the growth of their program to provide business value to an organization. These skills and practices focus on building and maintaining cross-functional relationships, culture change, enabling literacy in data, and promoting the value of their program to all stakeholders by driving community engagement.
Communication skills and planning are crucial throughout the life-cycle of a data governance program. Many organizations will develop a formal communication plan categorizing each communication vehicle delivery differently dependent on the target audience. The involvement of a marketing lead is common practice to ensure content and messaging are in alignment with the goals of each business unit.
Marketing & Branding a data governance program will bring awareness to an internal audience through creative and targeted messaging. Being concise and clear on the value proposition to your target audience will bring stakeholders closer to the common objectives for the overall business strategy. Publics, partnerships, policies, and pursestrings are the 4 P’s of social marketing that should be considered when branding a program. Measuring these activities as a typical marketing campaign will help data governance teams understand the progress of their program. Awareness, consideration, decision, adoption, and advocacy are common areas of measure to grow data governance marketing.
Soft selling and direct selling are essential skills needed when growing and maintaining a data governance program. Understanding the CRA (Compelling Reason to Act) and BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline) will help ensure you are delivering the message and value of your efforts to each line of business. “Data Owners” or “Data Stewards“ who will help support your program are clients of your product/service. The cycle of generating a lead, nurturing a prospect, and closing a data owner, executive sponsor, data user, or steward are all driven by the selling skills of the data governance team.
Community Building will help foster connections and collaboration within the organization. This will enable knowledge sharing and a sense of community between the Data Governance team and aligning business partners. Community building can be approached in many ways and will depend on the culture of an organization. Content, meet-ups, gamification, training programs, and a centralized home for individuals to meet regularly have shown to be successful for many teams.
Cross-Functional Relationships are necessary for data governance leaders and teams. Understanding how each stakeholder conducts business, measures success, and achieves goals will enhance the drivers for the data governance team. Building cross-functional relationships will help align the data governance activities and create opportunities for an organization. Each line of business will have various measures of success and conduct day-to-day activities differently. Data Governance teams must understand the variables in each go-to-market strategy and approach each relationship uniquely.
Data Literacy concepts and the general ability to provide training, resources, and knowledge are needed to enable stakeholders within the organization. Simplifying the learning process to bridge the knowledge gap is a unique skill set for those growing their data governance program. The data governance team is the foundation of setting up these practices. Formal data literacy training as part of community-building efforts is a common practice to align stakeholder engagement.
Business Strategy is arguably one of the most important components of a successful Data Governance Program. Aligning data governance activities, roadmaps, technology, and resources to business KPIs, metrics, and measures will ensure business value is achieved. Return on investment, profitability, reduction of risk, and corporate collaboration are all benefits when aligning business strategy with data governance efforts.
Change management and data governance focus on the shift of behavior. This requires change agents, understanding the various zones of change (New Beginning, Neutral, Ending), and creating a vision for change. Removing obstacles or individuals, creating short-term wins, and building on each change will help anchor the overall positioning in corporate culture.