Ensuring Digital Transformation Success Through Data Governance at State Farm

Data leaders know that a trusted foundation of governed data can unleash untold value for their organization | Informatica

Data modernization and digital transformation: two major initiatives of the last five years for nearly every organization. For any organization, those terms may mean different things. However, at the end of the day, what they really mean can be summed up in one simple word: change. While change is never simple, especially when it impacts culture, data leaders know that a trusted foundation of governed data will make the transition easier. A foundation of trusted data can unlock untold value in the information that we store and use as organizations. This insight can be leveraged to not only make our data-driven digital transformation successful, but also deliver major organizational value.  

This was always the core of the Data Empowerment Experts series—to help data governance leaders showcase how they’ve empowered their organization with trusted data to deliver value. We’ve had nearly a year’s worth of stories so far, and you can view each episode on-demand today. This latest episode, however, is a story that lives and breathes this narrative. The team at State Farm® has operationalized a foundation of data governance to help their strategic business initiatives succeed. They will share their journey in the next episode of the Data Empowerment Experts series, “Fueling Data Governance Modernization at State Farm,” and you can register for that webinar here. As a preview, I sat down with the team at State Farm for a question and answer section to get their advice to many of today’s common questions in the world of data governance.  

Question: How do you choose where to start?  

Answer: Choosing where to start is probably the most difficult and most important decision you will make. We took into account a number of factors in our decision on where to start with the adoption of Data Governance, with a focus on our efforts to modernize our legacy systems, our enterprise strategic platform direction, an area’s readiness on the chosen platform, and value to our customers based on use cases from individual business areas. Based on those criteria, we identified a handful of opportunities where we could start small with intentionality to iterate and scale.  

Question: How do you maintain momentum?  

Answer: We connect the adoption of the solutions to other project work to help address things we want to focus on in order to use data to help customers (e.g., enhanced data quality) and to support compliance with applicable requirements. We apply a multi-thread concept for adoption by using multiple ‘strike teams’ to drive out adoption use cases with several business and technology areas at a time, along with a focus on the continuous platform scanning. Our adoption teams are assigned to work alongside our adopters, balancing our role in providing guidance along with enabling self-service. As we enable these technical solutions, we are also integrating our data stewardship roles into the tooling and processes. We also engage key organizational business partners, including change management, communications, and learning and development. 

Question: How do you address scale?  

Answer: We were strategic when we first brought in the Informatica tools by starting with small groups and then expanding. Our goal is to teach the business and technology adopters “how to fish” so they can ultimately embed their business practices within the tooling solutions. As we expand to additional adopters, we develop and refine reusable processes/assets to increase pace, consistently applying lessons learned. And, of critical importance, we have strong partnership between technology and business teams.  

Question: How do you measure success?  

Answer: Our executives are sponsors and champions of the adoption, both on the technology and business side. We use both qualitative and quantitative measures. Some of our measures of success include the number of adopters, business departments represented, number of core data elements in the solutions and overall improvements in the data quality for those core data elements. Additionally, we evaluate the identification of roles specific to the tool to ensure we have the right people working in the solutions through our guided Data Stewardship model. We also leverage our Data Stewardship forum to provide updates on our adoption efforts, asking our business adopters to share what they’re doing in the tools, what’s going well, and what we’re still working on. Hearing from their peers working in the tools has been key in garnering interest and support for our program. 

Question: How has data privacy been a factor?  

Answer:  Data privacy is critical and is embedded within our data governance efforts. Our use of Axon and the Enterprise Data Catalog is maturing our work in this space. We are looking forward to leveraging CLAIRE’s AI capabilities within Enterprise Data Catalog to help identify sensitive data. 

Question: How do you empower the business to drive value?  

Answer: We work with business to define business problems we can solve through the Informatica tools and reusable processes and then develop use cases with the business partners to demonstrate the value. As mentioned in a prior question, we give them the resources (such as training, job aids, and processes), empowering them to work in the tools on their own. 

I hope that you’ll register to attend the next episode of the Data Empowerment Experts series to hear from the team at State Farm. They’ll share their approach, highlight key milestones in their journey, and detail out some of their lessons learned. This is a can’t-miss episode for anyone tasked to ensure that digital transformation is made successful through enterprise data governance.