Proponents of data value management have long urged organisations to see data as a corporate asset and they are right.
Just like any asset organisations should attach cost and value to their data.
Yet how many organisations are actually doing any of this? Only a small minority of market leaders.
The majority only considers data in this way when a specific requirement rears its head. Often this will be a regulatory or technology driven change.
This is understandable as the cost of entry into the data value management club can be high. There are software costs, management consulting costs and technical implementation costs. The promise of return on investment from data governance needs to be cast iron.
The temptation to wait until a project demands better data management is commonplace. But project thinking can mean data governance and lifecycle management processes happen in a ‘siloed’ fashion.
There is another problem too. It is a hackneyed question but apposite in this context; ‘What does good look like’? The response is typically difficult to define. What is good for a pharmaceutical company may be quite different to what is good for a retailer. The question also exposes a failing in traditional approaches to data value management projects. Common wisdom would ask an organisation to consider, say, people process and technology.
Organisations need to identify all the stakeholders, the steering committee and nominate the data stewards, define data related rules and processes, implement data quality related processes and assigned decision rights and accountabilities.
In addition, they also need to constantly ask: ‘where’s the value?’ This is where two key factors come into their own.
The first is measurement. Don’t they say if you want to improve something you must measure it first? By building a data governance scorecard organisations can benchmark their progress and see if their strategy is working over time.
The second factor is experience – for which there is no substitute. Here, that means choosing people with experience in delivering a true value-driven approach. Organisations should also be mindful to select people who understand what value means to their business and have the experience to deliver the results and add value.
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