Data Governance Communications

The effectiveness of Data Governance lies on how effective the line of communication are.  We’ve attended many data governance conferences and often hear the line repeated, “Data Governance is 80-95% communications”. After many years of experience doing data governance, we can attest to the fact that yes… data governance is primarily driven by communications.  The most effective data governance practitioners are highly effective communicators.  It is not necessarily those who have the most database experience or the highest level of education in data structures.  Success comes through clear communications and managing expectations.

Another idea often bounced around at conferences is that only a short period of time is needed to make the guidelines and exercises that these data governance rules control. On the other hand, the process of understanding the choices, arriving at an agreement, assisting in decision-making, agreeing on deliverables, confirming areas or responsibility, etc etc etc can taken an excruciatingly long period of time.  While I agree with the sentiment that the basic tenants of Data Governance can be agreed upon quickly…. As they say, “the devil is in the details” and these don’t tend to work themselves out very quickly. 

The success of any program on Data Governance relies on the utmost capacity of a Data Governance worker to effectively work with and coordinate with Data Stakeholders and Data Stewards. How can these Data Governance workers do this task effectively? First, they have to create a very effective Communication Plans. They have to construct fail-proof mediums of communications like Elevator Speeches, Impact Statements, Presentations, Governance Status Reports, emails to and from the Stakeholders and many more. Without these plans, there is no way that a Data Governance worker can fulfill his/her duties very well.

Data Governance and Quality Sessions from the IDQ Conference

Wednesday at the conference began the series of shorter sessions. The day kicked-off with the one-hour keynote from Elizabeth Kirscher, President of Morningstar’s Data Services Business. Her presentation, titled “When Data Quality Drives Revenue“, centered around the accomplishments of Morningstar in the data management field and the road that they took to get there. Elizabeth’s background was in sales, so when she began leading the Data Services Business she didn’t quite have the technical background that one would associate with that position. This just goes to show that many data issues reside on the business side, not in IT. In her tenure at Morningstar, where her team is seen as a profit center (lucky her!), she has gone through many regulation and standardizations as well as mergers and acquisitions. Listening to her stories about these business moves was very interesting.
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