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Data Governance – The Chicken or the Egg?

By   /  September 9, 2011  /  No Comments

You can’t do MDM without Data Governance. You can’t do Data Quality without Data Governance. You can’t do Data Architecture Management without Data Governance. You can’t do ***** without Data Governance. Ever heard these messages? I would bet that if you have been involved in data somehow then your answer has to be yes. And I have to say that I agree. I certainly believe that Data Governance is the foundation of all Data Management Activities. BUT ….. and this is a big one, which is why it’s in capital letters, Data Governance doesn’t just happen all by itself. I have yet to hear of any organization who woke up one morning, out of the blue and just “decided” to do Data Governance. If you know of any organization I want an introduction because I want to go and work there. Mostly Data Governance starts in response to data pain and somebody (generally IT, but occasionally business) deciding it’s time to do something about the bad data quality. So a project starts up to “fix” the data quality, then somebody else mentions MDM as a good way of “fixing” the problem. Then someone else introduces the fact that they don’t have a proper architecture plan, so whatever they do may not work. A further person challenges the originator of this decision over his or her Quality Tool choice. So eventually everyone is embroiled in data issues. Finally, and often after tons of research or a consultant being brought in, the light goes on and the words “Data Governance” are first mentioned. Another round of research with everyone saying “What is Data Governance?”. Then a sigh of relief as it’s realized that this “thing” will solve it all – including World Hunger. Hopefully, the organization has the right help and the right people and their Data Governance Program is a success. Even if it’s only half successful, they should be better off than in the beginning. My question thus becomes, is Data Governance the chicken or the egg? Did it really come “after” or was it in disguise as Data Quality or MDM? In fact, was it maybe not in plain sight all the time and just needed a name? Your thoughts?

About the author

Sue started in Data Management during 1996 when she was offered the opportunity to start up an IT department at the National Home Builder’s Registration Council (NHBRC). During the previous year she had become responsible for the list of registered builders and chose to make this list into a database – thus taking the first tentative steps into Data Management. She quickly became aware that data was a key asset for this organisation and over the next few years assisted a team of application builders to design and develop the first end-to-end paperless system for the NHBRC, cutting down registration time from 30 days to around 5 days. On leaving, she kept moving further and further into various data roles with organisations where her clients numbered 3 of the top 4 banking institutions in SA, a number of telco’s and various pension fund, insurance companies and health organisations. Sue was the initial designer of data quality matching algorithms for a South African built Data Quality and Matching tool (Plasma Mind). This experience has stood her in good stead as she has slowly but surely climbed the ladder in Southern Africa to become the first CDMP in the country. DAMA I came to her notice in about 2004 when she was searching for an organisation of like-minded data professionals in South Africa. However it was only during 2005 that she met up with some South Africans with a similar mission. They decided to work on starting up DAMA SA and established the initial non-profit entity with some of the current board roped in as directors. Sue took the initiative in 2006 and was accepted to present a paper at the DM & IQ European Conference. Meeting up with the DAMA I directors enforced her belief and need to have a chapter in Southern Africa, and she returned from this conference determined to work on this goal. Finally obtaining sponsorship, DAMA SA’s Inaugural meeting was targeted for February of 2009. Over 150 people attended this event and she had her first opportunity to address South African Data Management professionals as the new DAMA SA President – forgetting to introduce herself. From that time on Sue has been the leader and driving force of the DAMA SA Board. DAMA SA has grown from strength to strength well supported by a strong Board of Directors. Sue has been to a number of DAMA I conferences and offers presentations and papers each year. For EDW 2008 in San Diego, she sat on the Committee for Speaker Selection and was also lucky enough to present a paper that year. She has worked hard to maintain a relationship with the DAMA I Board members and offered her services in any capacity a number of times taking up the role of VP Operations from the middle of 2010 shadowing the outgoing VP and finally taking up the full rains in the beginning of 2011. During her time as DAMA SA President she has constantly and consistently worked with the Board to ensure that the vision, mission and goals of DAMA SA and DAMA I are aligned. She adheres to the DAMA I Code of Ethics at all times and has worked long and hard on designing policies and procedures for DAMA SA that reflect these ethics. In her role as deputy to the VP Operations, she has the opportunity to share the work that is being done on the DAMA SA board with DAMA I. She is making a positive contribution and has managed (as usual) to raise questions and ideas from the point of view of a non-US organisation. In Southern Africa, Sue is already well known on the subject of Data Management and finds herself often being asked to give presentations at local conferences AND talk to many organisations about their Data Management Maturity.

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