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How to Avoid 3 Common Data Governance Traps

By: Sonja

October 14, 2020
Our Mission

Over the years, we’ve helped many organizations launch and expand their Data Governance initiatives.

As a result of this specialism in Data Governance, we get to observe patterns that are common across the many clients and industries we serve.

When analyzing these patterns, we noticed that Data Governance leaders frequently struggle with three specific ‘traps’ when implementing their Data Governance Program.

Trap #1: The Unbalanced Bias Trap

What we frequently observe is something we call ‘Unbalanced Bias’.

An unbalanced bias occurs when there is an imbalance between a ‘foundations driven’ approach and a ‘use-case driven’ approach.

On the one hand, you have Data Governance Teams who focus mainly on the ‘Data Governance Foundations’ such as creating policies, agreeing operating models, building business glossaries, mapping data lineage and crafting workflows.

In other organizations, the focal point is on applying Data Governance to specific use-cases. Examples of a Data Governance use-case could include programs for regulatory compliance, digital transformation or data breach risk reduction.

Trap #2: The Change Management Trap

Secondly, a lack of change management also harms Data Governance programs.

Insufficient change management results in organizations not being ready to switch to a different way of working. Employees don’t receive the communication and support they need to adopt the sizeable shifts required in their data behaviours, processes and culture.

Without change management, it can be challenging to make Data Governance ‘stick’.

Trap #3: The Expectation Management Trap

Another issue that relates to ineffective change management is that the value and expectation of what Data Governance delivers are not communicated at all levels of the organization.

Launching a successful Data Governance program requires sponsors, stakeholders and data citizens to understand the reasoning of each step of the Data Governance journey.

People need to understand what’s required of them, what benefits are expected at each stage, who will need to be involved, and the precise deliverables they and their teams will need to deliver.

How do you know you have walked into one of these traps?

If you are leading a frustrated data team, are struggling to attract business buy-in, are not able to fix data issues, and/or own a tool not used by business users – you might be dealing with one of the above pitfalls.

Fortunately, you can avoid these traps.

Introducing the ‘Data Governance Prioritization Matrix’

With every Data Governance initiative, we start by applying a Data Governance Prioritization Matrix.

The prioritization matrix combines the Data Governance Foundation and Data Governance Use-Case approaches into one unified strategy for implementation. The matrix helps to match the Data Governance foundation of your various data domains to the specific use cases that are dependent on your Data Governance initiative.

Another benefit is that this unified approach helps you identify the quick-wins and immediate value the business expects whilst also securing the long-term business value that helps to sustain Data Governance growth and adoption.

The Data Governance Accelerator

In helping our clients overcome the 2nd and 3rd trap, we provide another innovation called the ‘Data Governance Accelerator’.

Consider the accelerator as a toolbox.

It possesses all the relevant Data Governance tools you will ever need to construct your Data Governance program.

Typically, our clients run their Data Governance programs by adopting several consecutive steps that deliver new and mature data domains aligned against specific Data Governance use-cases.

Our Data Governance Toolbox helps you accelerate through the stages of your Data Governance program because you’re leveraging resources and methods that have already been developed, proven and refined over many previous engagements.

The benefits of this toolbox approach persist beyond the program to benefit the entire organization. By using the toolbox, stakeholders understand precisely which steps to take and which capabilities are required for each step.

After applying the Data Governance Prioritization Matrix and Data Governance Accelerator, we typically see increased business buy-in, greater organizational readiness, a more balanced approach and well-informed stakeholders.

Next Steps

If you want to learn more about how to avoid Data Governance traps in your program, through the use of the methods and innovations we deploy, please feel free to contact us.
If you want to get access to recordings of our recent Data Governance webinar – in which our approach to avoid these traps is explained in more detail including helpful images, feel free to reach out.
Contact us at: info@datatrustassociates.com