Typically, in large organizations data governance and its practice germinates either from a top down approach led by a key executive– say a Chief Financial Officer, or from a bottom up approach driven by business unit stakeholders who understand the importance of data ownership and data management to their success. In a report entitled, A Data Governance Manifesto: Designing and Deploying Sustainable Data Governance, Jill Dyché co-founder of Baseline Consulting and author of the report warned, “Without a sound description of the problems being solved, as well as clear communications around key decisions and the authority to make them, data governance can fail before it really begins.”
While data is certainly ubiquitous across an organization, the practice of data governance is commonly limited to the most important types of data– the data necessary for efficiently managing business operations and regulatory compliance. Today, this important class of data– which is called master data– is emerging as a critical and central component to a company’s data governance efforts. However, to ensure master data governance success, organizations should be able to answer the following questions:
1. What data should constitute master data?
2. Who will own the various aspects of master data?
3. How many and what data sources exist for each type of master data?
4. What level of validation and/or verification of consistency, correctness and completeness is sufficient?
5. What, if any, industry or regulatory standards must be supported?
6. Who is allowed access rights to which data type and what actions can they perform?
7. What controls need to be put in place for master data, and what level of change needs to be recorded over what timeframe?
Taking the time to answer these seven critical questions in advance of designing your data governance process will allow you to better plan and implement a successful enterprise-wide master data governance effort. Better yet, you just might find your data governance efforts will be rewarded by simply defining, determining and communicating key data decisions along with who has the authority to make and maintain them– up front.