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Our Grounding Theory

─​ Governance Architecture Definition ─

Without a fundamental knowledge of the sources and uses of data within an organization, Data Governance is like a fancy car without engine. If you don’t understand what you are governing it won’t matter how many governing bodies, structures, policies and procedures you apply to the problem.

The MetaGovernance framework uses taxonomy of business terms to determine subject areas.  Linkage between subject areas and stakeholders (governance roles) is established.  Stakeholders identify the sources (data bases, spreadsheets, etc.) and uses (reports, spreadsheets, etc.) of their information. This research and re-definition of subject area groupings frequently leads to unexpected insights about the true state of an organization’s information assets.

MetaGovernance views these definitions and relationships as the fundamental building blocks of the Governance Architecture.  From these core building blocks additional relationships can be mapped to business structures such as processes, capabilities and policies, as well as to technical / risk factors such as applications, security rules and retention requirements.

With these definitions and linkages, the organization has a mapping of their Information Governance architecture across many domains of the overall enterprise architecture. It also includes aspects of the information or cyber security architecture. Each of these components drive the identification of registered governance stakeholders. 

To track all this information a robust tool is required which can capture the governance architecture of your organization.  Learn more about features required for an effective governance platform.

─​ Reconciliation Control Framework ─

The Reconciliation Control Framework® leverages the Governance Architecture  by implementing automated reconciliation controls at the data and reporting layers with targeted feedback to stakeholders.   The Governance Architecture is used to assess a company’s reporting environment from standard business applications and data warehouses to spreadsheets and ad-hoc reporting systems. The framework provides demonstrable evidence that the reporting architecture of your organization is an accurate and auditable reflection of business processes.

How it works: Governance Architecture establishes subject areas of information, identifies the stakeholders for subject areas, and associates key business attributes with  subject areas.  As a part of the Governance Architecture, data sources and uses (reports) will also be associated with subject areas.  The Governance Architecture is often extended to map the key data elements (called data objects in the MetaGovernance nomenclature).

Once this metadata is in place, determining the ongoing quality of an organization’s reporting solutions and information assets is significantly simplified.  Through the use of technology, comparisons can be made of data at the database or reporting layer without the need for programming.  Feedback on issues of data quality can be provided to the governance stakeholders on a “before used” basis by leveraging the already existing connections within the Governance Architecture metadata.

The Reconciliation Control Framework® coupled with our Governance Architecture provides a complete picture of the details of the current state AND the quality of an organization’s information assets. Information Governance becomes a meaningful and critical organizational activity.

From this understanding, a vision of the future potential for managed and leveraged Information Architecture will start to evolve.  With the use of our Navigation to the Future model, future state and next steps can be clearly defined.

─ Agile Delivery Methodology ─

Agile principles align very well with the keys to success for establishing a Data Governance program or for creating and sustaining operational Data Governance within existing Lean/Agile projects.

MetaGovernance uses an agile approach to focus on deliverables that are valuable to your business and are continuously introduced into the organization at the right time. These are delivered through close collaboration with motivated individuals. By continuously improving the Data Governance process, an organization can remain flexible, compliant and responsive; and end up with an integrated Data Governance program that enables the delivery of accurate and timely information for operational or financial disclosure needs.

Our targeted service offerings are built around agile methodology that quickly deliver results in a targeted domain.  These include  Information Governance QuickStart Program and Reconciliation Control Framework Starter Program.  Learn more about these programs in our Targeted Services section.

When the symptoms do not necessarily reveal the underlying problem, a more formal planning process is called for.  Our strategic planning methodology will discover root causes and set a path for success.

When a customized solution is required, MetaGovernance will leverage its experience and expertise to determine if an agile delivery method is called for or a more formal planning and delivery approach is needed.   See more about our agile approach in our Thought Leadership section.

─ Navigating to the Future Model (NTTF) ─

When you can’t figure out where you are, how can you possibly decide what to do to reach where you want to be?  If you know where you are, but can’t decide where you want to go, then you are likely to drift slowly to a less than optimal place. If you’re not sure how you got to the point you are now, how are you going to know what corrective actions to take to reach where you want to be?  These are key questions that need to be addressed for effective strategic implementation of a Data Governance or Information Governance initiative.

The Navigating to the Future (NTTF) concept was developed and used effectively by Daedalean Associates to assist individuals and organizations make intentional and calculated improvements to their surroundings. MetaGovernance has adopted NTTF as part of our foundational capabilities because it provides the framework for thoughtful and calculated action plans while minimizing time, cost and resources.

When you are not sure where to begin your Information Governance journey, we can help you chart a path based on the results of a planning exercise. NTTF is an application of applied system thinking.  This model can help your organizations by enacting controlled and deliberate change that avoids “over-corrections” and enables an optimum path to future business goals.

The key steps of the NTTF process are:

  • Present Position Analysis – An assessment of your current state (in the context of the desired change).
  • Desired Future State – A declaration of where you want to be at some future date in time, assuming there were no constraints, i.e. your ideal outcome.
  • Projected Future State – An assessment of where you will end up if you continue to follow existing patterns of behavior, i.e. all things remain equal.
  • Required Corrective Action – A targeted action plan that will ensure you end up at your Desired Future State, instead of finding yourself at the Projected Future State, or adrift somewhere in between.


This example is extreme, where the captain finds himself in the wrong ocean.  By analogy, we have seen similar gross “miscalculations” during the implementation of governance and Business Intelligence or other system implementations.  Unfortunately such precision has not been available when defining the present position analysis and required corrective actions for governance or Enterprise Information Management initiatives.  Application of MetaGovernance capabilities along with NTTF can now fill this void.

NTTF requires the equivalent of compasses, sextants, charts, and radar for effective navigation of desired business outcomes.  MetaGovernance leverages the concept of insight triangulation as the working mechanism for NTTF. Insight triangulation enables us to precisely determine the organizational stage and state, the equivalent of navigational devices. Insight triangulation then allows us to address either/or issues and handle paradox to find an optimum solution.

NTTF can be combined with our Total Data Quality model below to determine precise and measurable required corrective actions.

─​ Total Data Quality Model (TDQ) ─

TDQ is an ideal state of data quality achieved by organization-wide efforts in continuously improving data quality. “Total” emphasizes that all department are obligated to improve their operations to ensure data stays true through its lifecycle.

Our Total Data Quality Model was inspired by industry models such as Gartner, CMMI, ARMA and IBM. The model has the tools and metrics to advance all aspects of Information Governance.

TDQ LevelLevel Description
Level 1
Undiscovered Data Risk
• Competing sources of truth
• Reactive ‘whack a mole’ approach
• Significant regulatory and operational risks
• Overreliance on spreadsheets and manual reconciliations
Level 2
Organizational Awareness
• Awareness that data is a ‘black box’
• Data solutions still siloed within departments
• Reporting solutions fail to provide business value
• Recognition that regulatory issues demand enterprise solutions
Level 3
Controlled Data Risk
• Data governance body established
• Focus on data quality controls for key data
• Root causes of data and reporting issues discovered
• Data quality improving, but still reactive
Level 4:
Trusted Data
• Automated controls monitor data qualityM
• Single source of truth used across key processes
• Data quality metrics drive accountability
Level 5:
Total Data Quality
• Knowledge drives business expansion
• Data gatherers become knowledge workers
• Data quality management integrated in business processes


NTTF model can be combined with this TDQ model to determine precise and measurable required corrective actions. We can help you accurately assess where you are and achieve your desired data destination. 

Our customized and targeted solutions utilize our unique combination of technology knowledge, framework, and expertise. Our services are based on the stage in your journey, key business values for your organization, and your vision of the organization’s future state. 



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