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Maintaining Awareness

I recently presented on the topic “Implementing an Effective Data Governance Communication Plan” at the 2018 DGIQ conference. This presentation focused on defining a targeted Data Governance Communication Plan, which requires maintaining awareness of the stakeholders across the enterprise Data Governance framework.

But what is this awareness? Awareness is defined as “knowledge or perception of a situation or fact, or a concern about and well-informed interest in a particular situation or development.” To emphasize the importance of defining and maintaining awareness, MetaGovernance has coined the term Registered Governance Stakeholder. A Registered Governance Stakeholder is a business user who has a vested interest in the information or data assets at a particular point in time. “Registration” occurs as part of the Data Governance implementation.

In the context of Data Governance, or Information Governance, a Registered Governance Stakeholder is the key target of any Data Governance communication. Communication such as changes to data structures or availability, data quality issues, changes to system of record, data ownership changes, etc. It is critical to maintain awareness of many facets of source and use of data or information in order to remove operational, regulatory and financial risk inherent in ignorance across the data and information landscape. Awareness and targeted information are key.

Consider the following three scenarios of issues we have heard with recent clients:

Out of the loop
“My group was not informed that the definition of total sales had been changed within the data warehouse. Our reports have been wrong for the past three months and now we have an audit finding that our controls are ineffective. How can we get stay in the communication loop and not rely on tribal knowledge or hallway talks?”

Wrong data source
“We have been using our internal data warehouse for investment call details and prices over the past 3 years. We now found out that this data is inaccurate and Market Risk and Treasury switched to an outside market data vendor in 2014. There are no controls in place to compare data values and now we may have to restate our Q4 2015 financials due to inconsistency of financial reporting. Data Governance needs to keep us informed on the correct data sources.”

Unknown consumers
“My group has accepted responsibility for the accuracy of product sales and return data. We accept our role as data owners, but we have no clue who actually uses our data. We cannot accurately maintain the master governance spreadsheet because there are too many moving pieces to who uses what data, and from where. We want to keep people informed but how are we to accurately know our data consumers?”

The common thread in all these issues is the fundamental need for awareness. At the recent DGIQ conference it became clear to me that the basic level of understanding and appreciation of the vast data and information quality issues is increasing. Root causes are being examined. The overall conference group is becoming more mature and sophisticated in the awareness of the business and technical problems inherent in Data Governance and Information Governance. The level of awareness has risen close to a critical mass of individuals and companies ready to accept and resolve these issues. As a governance specialist for over 20 years, it was very refreshing and encouraging to engage in dialogue with folks who were ready to determine and solve the correct problems. Nearly gone were the days of folks “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic”. Such ineffective tactics are being replaced with individuals interested in real generative change across the governance architecture of a company.

For this to happen, the basic awareness inherent in Data Governance and Information Governance has reached the level of the “100th monkey”. This realization alone was priceless.

This series of blogs will continue to explore different aspects of awareness and how it relates to all levels of the Data and Information Governance architectures of a company.

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