Fostering Business Driven Data Governance

At OrganisationsWork, we support our clients to develop their capability to manage constant change.  One of the biggest challenges facing companies today is digital transformation.                                                                                       

Digitalization requires new ways of thinking and working.  This can open the door for creative change interventions.  “Big data”, a critical element of digitalisation, brings a significant increase in the magnitude of data including new sources such as social media and connected devices.  The insight this data brings is already changing business models (see McKinsey’s article:  The Case for Digital Reinvention).

Robust data governance practices between the business and IT are required and it is important that the people side of change is not neglected when they are introduced.  While technology’s capability has grown exponentially, people’s capacity to take on change has failed to keep up; the impact on a company’s culture, or ‘way of doing things’ is seldom considered.

Here are a few lessons we have learned about data governance through our experience with large and often complex programmes:

  1. Establish a clear way of working between the business and IT:
    This is more than just a list of roles and responsibilities.  There is a tendency (on both sides) when things get complicated to throw things over the fence to the other party and finger pointing to start.
  2. Demonstrate how the data governance approach underpins the digital strategy: and the business opportunities (and risks) that this will bring.  The story is important.
  3. Assess the impact of the new governance structure on the way organisation’s culture, how does it work with existing structures such as reporting relationships and decision making, will these hinder of facilitate?  Have the ‘right’ people been involved.
  4. Governance structures should facilitate building new working relationships:
    “Big data” will almost certainly mean bringing together people from different parts of the business who might not have worked together before.
  5. Involve any external service providers early:
    they may need to change their own data, systems and processes.
  6. Provide effective data cleansing and data management tools:
    We’ve seen both ends of the spectrum, from excellent to terrible.  If you make it easy for people they are more likely to do it.
  7. Ensure that the communications are targeted, relevant and timely:
    With the sheer volume of information hitting people, think creatively about different communication channels, not just emails!  Unless comms are linked clearly to the business context and outcomes, they will fail.
  8. Ensure business readiness planning has identified the potential data failure points, and quick and effective business remediation plans are in place if there are teething issues at go live.  As change management professionals, we need to ensure that our activities are fit for purpose in this rapidly changing environment.

What are the change management challenges that you have experienced as part of “big data” projects?  How have you addressed them?

We, at OrganisationsWork, would love to hear about your experiences …

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