The Overlooked Duties of Data Governance

You are here:

The Overlooked Duties of Data Governance

While the perception of most data governance leaders and teams is that of technical aspects and alignment to data rules and policies, the business duties and soft skills are often overlooked. Successful data governance requires daily activities that rely on communication, collaboration, and strong business sense. We will be covering some of these duties that are a crucial part of the data governance program.

Facilitating Collaboration

Effective data governance requires cross-functional collaboration across all business units that use data. For data governance teams, it is critical to facilitate cooperation through open communication, relationship building, and a collaborative mindset. Governance teams promote collaboration by identifying stakeholders, understanding business needs and objectives, and facilitating groups working together toward common data goals.

Data governance serves as a bridge-builder, enabling collaboration through inclusive planning, transparency, and a “one team” philosophy. By fostering collaboration, they help implement governance successfully across the enterprise.

Growing Awareness

Data governance teams face a continuous challenge in raising organizational understanding and awareness. Employees will not participate in governance procedures that they do not understand or value.

They must clearly articulate the “why” of governance – how it supports jobs, company goals, and most of all their individual stakeholders. Leaders need persistence and creativity to demonstrate success, socialize the tangible benefits, and incentivize governance activities. Embedding governance into the culture, ongoing leadership commitment, and reinforcement are essential. Despite the difficulties, growing awareness is essential to the success and sustainability of a data governance program.

Managing Relationships

Similar to facilitating collaboration, the management of relationships within an organization is equally as challenging. The role of the data governance team is to understand the drivers for each stakeholder and build meaningful relationships to ensure partnership regarding data governance activities. Through active listening and transparency, governance leaders can gain trust and cooperation. They need diplomacy and adaptability to address diverse needs and overcome roadblocks. Maintaining strong relationships enables the alignments and compromises necessary for implementing governance programs. Relationship management requires ongoing communication, issue resolution, and relationship nurturing as a key responsibility.

Creating Business Value

Sales, Marketing, Advertising, and other areas of the business show a direct line to profitability. However, data governance leaders must position and demonstrate governance as an enabler of key business objectives. They can create value by improving data quality for decision-making, providing self-service data access, meeting compliance mandates, and reducing costs through efficiencies. Governance leaders need to measure and communicate successes through business-focused KPIs like increased revenue, higher customer satisfaction, lower risks and costs. Tying governance to tangible business benefits secures ongoing funding and sustainability. Although not directly profit-generating, effective data governance enables profit through enhanced information, integrity, and availability.

Building and Maintaining Culture

Many data governance teams and leaders are tasked with “data culture”. Growing or changing the culture of an organization is far from a technical skill. This requires a unique understanding of the internal and external mindset of the organization and its perception of data. A strong data culture views information as a strategic asset and prioritizes governance practices. Leaders and teams must assess the current culture and drivers, identifying gaps and needs. Different personalities will embrace or reject governance behaviors based on motivations like power, recognition, and comfort zones. Leaders need emotional intelligence to encourage new practices. Providing education, tracking change, and aligning these goals to the organization over time are key to growing a data culture.