Best Kept Secrets for Successful Data Governance

data governance
Best Kept Secrets for a Successful Data Governance

If you’ve spent some time studying and practicing data governance, you would agree that data governance is a challenging yet rewarding endeavor.  Across industries, a growing number of organizations have put data governance programs in place so they can more effectively manage their data to drive the business value. But the reality is, data governance is a complex process, and most companies practicing data governance today are still at the early phase of this very long journey.  In fact, according to the result from over 240 completed data governance assessments on, a community website dedicated to everything data governance, the average score for data governance maturity is only 1.6 out of 5. It’s no surprise that data governance was a hot topic at last week’s Informatica World 2015.  Over a dozen presentations and panel discussions on data governance were delivered; practitioners across various industries shared their real-world stories on topics ranging from how to kick-start a data governance program, how to build business cases for data governance, frameworks and stewardship management, to the choice of technologies.  For me, the key takeaways are:

  1. Old but still true – To do data governance the right way, you must start small and focus on achieving tangible results. Leverage the small victories to advance to the next phase.
  1. Be prepared to fail more than once while building a data governance program. But don’t quit, because your data will not.
  1. Why doesn't it fit?!One-size doesn’t fit all when it comes to building a data governance framework, which is a challenge for organizations, as there is no magic formula that companies can immediately adopt. Should you build a centralized or federated data governance operation? Well, that really depends on what works within your existing environment.
    In fact, when asked “what’s the most challenging area for your data governance effort” in our recent survey conducted at Informatica World 2015, “Identify roles and responsibilities” got the most mentions. Basic principle? – Choose a framework that blends well with your company‘s culture.
  1. pptLet’s face it, data governance is not an IT project, nor is it about fixing data problems. It is a business function that calls for people, process and technology working together to obtain the most value from your data. Our seasoned practitioners recommend a systematic approach: Your first priority should be people gathering – identifying the right people with the right skills and most importantly, those who have a passion for data; next is figuring out the process. Things to consider include: What’s the requirement for data quality? What metrics and measurements should be used for examining the data; how to handle exceptions and remediate data issues? How to quickly identify and apply security measures to the various data sets?  Third priority is selecting the right technologies  to implement and facilitate those processes to transform the data so it can be used to help meet  business goals.
  1. Business & IT Collaboration“Engage your business early on” is another important tip from our customers who have achieved early success with their data governance program. A data governance program will not be sustainable without participation from the business. The reason is simple – the business owns the data, they are the consumers of the data and have specific requirements for the data they want to use. IT needs to work collaboratively with business to meet those requirements so the data is fit for use, and provides good value for the business.
  1. Scalability, flexibility and interoperability should be the key considerations when it comes to selecting data governance technologies. Your technology platform should be able to easily adapt to the new requirements arising from the changes in your data environment.  A Big Data project, for example, introduces new data types, increased data speed and volume. Your data management solution should be agile enough to address those new challenges with minimum disruption to your workflow.

Data governance is HOT! The well-attended sessions at Informatica World, as well as some of our previously hosted webinars is testimony of the enthusiasm among our customers, partners, and our own employees on this topic. It’s an exciting time for us at Informatica because we are in a great position to help companies build an effective data governance program. In fact, many of our customers have been relying on our industry-leading data management tools to support their data governance program, and have achieved results in many business areas such as meeting compliance requirements, improving customer centricity and enabling advanced analytics projects. To continue the dialogue and facilitate further learning, I’d like to invite you to an upcoming webinar on May 28, to hear some insightful, pragmatic tips and tricks for building a holistic data governance program from industry expert David Loshin, Principal at Knowledge Integrity, Inc,  and Informatica’s own data governance guru Rob Karel.

Get Ready!
Get Ready!

“Better data is everyone’s job” –  well said by Terri Mikol, director of Data Governance at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.  For companies striving to leverage data to deliver business value, everyone within the company should treat data as a strategic asset and take on responsibilities for delivering clean, connected and safe data. Only then can your organization be considered truly “Data Ready”.