Gaining executive buy-in through Data Governance

Data governance is a challenging topic and directly affects how an organization interacts with its data.

Successfully applying a Data Governance strategy requires managing the dynamics of an organization that allows for organizational change. While obtaining individuals' support across an enterprise is essential, a critical step for successful implementation is gaining executive buy-in.

Data governance can define data standards for an organization, which typically take the form of standardization, policies, data modeling, and master data management (MDM). However, an IT team cannot drive Data Governance initiatives alone. There must be strong support from enterprise leadership. Decision-makers have the power to influence culture, finances, resources, and the acceptance of new business practices across an entire organization. Therefore, gaining executive sponsorship for a Data Governance program is crucial to its success.

Demonstrating how Data Governance solves specific pain points and improves business outcomes is a great start toward gaining leadership support. Other ways of acquiring an executive buy-in include:

  • Aligning Data Governance to the shared goals and objectives of the organization
  • The initial creation of a production pilot that solves the small, high-value use case
  • Presenting the positive results of the pilot early and often
  • Highlighting the long-term importance of these wins

Data governance takes time to mature; while gaining initial executive support is critical, maintaining that support is just as important. This can be accomplished by building upon the trust relationship with executives through results that will carry their engagement. Also, it is advised to encourage leadership to actively participate in the program through shared input and feedback. Giving them this sense of ownership will only further solidify their commitment to a Data Governance program.

Data Governance is not only a technology issue and typically fails if there is a lack of support across the entire organization. The reality is that technology is only one piece of the Data Governance puzzle. For an enterprise to successfully improve the organization's data health, there must be a significant culture change and buy-in from people to get to a future state with mature Data Governance capabilities. An enterprise Data Governance program will be critical to support the complexity and speed at which business happens today. Success will lead to developing the experience and data foundation that future initiatives can be built upon.

At Data Ideology, Data Governance is integrated as part of our approach. We have experience working with executives to enable the capability and maturity of an organizational Data Governance program. This allows us to deliver value to your organization by integrating Data Governance into any data related process.

Written by Mike Sargo
Mike Sargo is Chief Data and Analytics Officer and Co-Founder of Data Ideology with over 18 years of experience leading, architecting, implementing, and delivering enterprise analytics, business intelligence, and enterprise data management solutions.

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