Data Governance – The Chicken or the Egg?

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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?

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