Stop Governing Your Data – today!
Data is critical to the functioning of your organization, but it is also inanimate, something that stays where and how you keep it until and unless someone moves it. It is not trying to get away from you. Why then, do we feel the need to ‘govern’ it? Of course, the reason is to stop it from becoming corrupt, make sure that it remains up-to-date, and ensure its integrity. If you think about all these issues though, you’ll realize something; it is the people who are responsible for all these problems. The data you have is a representation of people, objects, purchased parts, companies, and behaviors that does not do anything on its own. It is the people working on it that corrupt it by copying, changing, deleting, and adjusting it.
Why does this happen?
Of course, the people working on the data are not trying to corrupt it intentionally. Whatever operations they perform on it are done in order to answer their own business questions. What leads to such a behavior is a lack of realization on the employees’ part about how their action impacts the data, and in turn, the organization negatively.
The most obvious solution to this that most organization think of and apply is following a compliance-based approach. You set out the data policy in great details, distribute among the employees a checklist wherein they need to tick boxes for compliance and sleep happy thinking that the days of corrupt and unclean data are passé. Alas, if only data management were so easy!
Unfortunately, people tick the required boxes and go back to doing things the same way they used to. You get a bunch of nice looking tables with great data, but the situation on the ground remains the same. So how can this be tackled? By following a value-based approach.
This is what works
Recognizing that behavior should be the focus of your efforts is critical. If you are a town planner who is struggling with daily traffic jams at the city’s intersections, regulating vehicles alone will not work; you need to transform the driving habits of the people. This is exactly what needs to be done in the case of data governance as well. Let us see how.
1. Tell them why – Make sure your employees know why they should care about the data. They need to know what they, and the company stand to gain if they pay more attention to data quality and its
improvement. Simply put, explain to them the value of clean data.
2. Tell them what – If people know what can happen due to their mistakes, they are much more likely to pay attention and avoid them. Do not be a scaremonger but make your employees aware of the issues that can arise from their carelessness.
3. Tell them how – Now comes the third step – tell them how to make sure mistakes do not happen. Here is the part where your compliance-based approach comes in. The checklist will work better if the people using it know why they are doing so and what it means for them and the organization.
Data governance is critical as it sets the parameters for data usage and management, helps process owners make better decisions, and also helps in resolving data issues. However, utilizing it means ensuring that the people know what they are doing and why. Do this and you are sure to have clean data always.
How do you ensure compliance at your organization? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
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