The “Force-Field” of Data Governance

March 9, 2011
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Darth_vader004 Both of my sons loved Star Wars when they were small.

Darth_vader004 Both of my sons loved Star Wars when they were small. If they weren’t watching the movies, they were reading the books, building the Lego sets or dressing up as their favorite characters.  So, when I started to write about data governance for this  blog post, sci-fi comparisons kept creeping into my head.

Data governance has a big job: establishing the processes, policies, standards, organization, and technologies required to manage and ensure the availability, accessibility, quality, consistency, auditability and security of data in an organization.

In many instances it is seen as too overwhelming or daunting to undertake, like young Luke Skywalker learning how to become a Jedi. Too often people are immobilized by analysis paralysis and fail to move forward after initial meetings and excitement. But don’t stop before you get started.  Data governance is like the force-field around your data, protecting that “single version of the truth.”

For example, the story of one company comes to mind. It’s an insurance company, many of which are grappling with enterprise data management.

This particular insurance company took data governance very seriously when they put EDM in place. Their issue? To gain tighter control of financial reporting, which was scattered across no fewer than 12 reporting systems and even more ledgers, repositories, accounts, and spreadsheets (hundreds of thousands of spreadsheets!)

Ultimately, they ended up with more accurate and reliable forecasting, streamlined operations, and, what I like to think of as the holy grail for finance: the ability to be a strategic advisor to the business. They moved from the stone age of hunting and gathering of data to the 21st century information analysis and performance management.

So maybe there weren’t any Goa’uld or Ori (you’ll have to ask my sons what they are), but it was still pretty impressive.

How has data governance has made a difference in your organization?