Data Governance Missions and the “Branches of Government”

January 24, 2009
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This past week the U.S. media have been abuzz about President Obama’s first-day-in-office efforts to bring transparency to government. And there are many stories around the theme of the balance of power between the three branches of the U.S. government. It’s fun to watch newscasters reminding viewers about the Legislative branch that makes laws; the Judicial branch (courts) that interpret rules, settle disputes, and deal with non-compliance; and the Executive branch that runs the government. They remind us that during our country’s first few administrations, the Executive branch wasn’t much bigger than the other two!

What does this have to do with Data Governance? Most programs I know have a three-part mission similar to the governmental model… 

This past week the U.S. media have been abuzz about President Obama’s first-day-in-office efforts to bring transparency to government. And there are many stories around the theme of the balance of power between the three branches of the U.S. government. It’s fun to watch newscasters reminding viewers about the Legislative branch that makes laws; the Judicial branch (courts) that interpret rules, settle disputes, and deal with non-compliance; and the Executive branch that runs the government. They remind us that during our country’s first few administrations, the Executive branch wasn’t much bigger than the other two!

What does this have to do with Data Governance? Most programs I know have a three-part mission similar to the governmental model. One part of the program collects/makes/aligns rules (policies, standards, business rules, data definitions, etc.). Another governance mechanism deals with conflicts and non-compliance. And a third effort provides services to data stakeholders and works to embed rules and controls into business, IT, and data management processes.

It doesn’t really matter how big or small your program is, or what data you’re working with, or the ultimate goals of your program. Whatever your scope, you need to address all three missions if you’re going to create sustainable success.

Here’s a thought… do you think info-savvy President Obama just might “get” the concepts of Data Governance?

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