Golden Copy: Unsung Elements of Data Governance

A wide-ranging drill-down into preparedness for multiple data management functions among 128 financial industry firms finds multiple aspects requiring attention


To truly and effectively address data governance, firms will have to work on internal organization and communication, as well as bolstering stakeholder and resource commitment, and getting data and IT professionals to collaborate on governance goals.

Looking back at how predictions about data management for 2015 played out, as I did in last week's Golden Copy, the conclusion was data governance efforts need more work to better support the possibility of centralizing this information to manage it better.

A new survey report produced by the EDM Council─with support from Sapient Global Markets and Pellustro (a data-management capability assessment service offered by Element-22), based on the Data Management Capability Assessment Model (DCAM)─has identified several potential problems that certainly could figure into why data governance efforts face so many obstacles and risk falling into so many traps. The survey collected views on 21 separate questions about data management from 234 people at 128 firms, spanning the buy and sell sides and insurance.

First, about 30 percent of the firms surveyed said they have not reached advanced communication capability for their data governance programs that are fully operational. Some months ago, Roberto Maranca, managing director of enterprise data at GE Capital, remarked to me that he sees communication within the firm as the greatest challenge in his role for implementing data-management programs and ideas. In the EDM Council's report on the survey, the authors note "it is very difficult to integrate data-management principles into dynamic organizations if you are your own best kept secret."

There will always be multiple stakeholders to communicate and work with to ensure the success of data-management programs, the report notes, which concurs with Maranca's qualitative observations. The survey reports only 15 percent of respondents said they're effectively communicating value propositions, operational implications and compliance issues from their data-governance programs.

It is very difficult to integrate data-
management principles into dynamic organizations if you are your own best kept secret ─ EDM Council report

One would think there is no better way to ensure effective internal communication than to entrust a formal office or department of data management and charge it with that responsibility, and especially to "enforce adherence to policy," as the survey report authors put it. Yet only 22 percent of respondents to the survey said they have that in place.

There are several other aspects in the report where the percentage of survey respondents who said they had the capability or operations in place to address those functions measured below 30 percent, and in many cases in the low teens or single digits. These aspects included stakeholder commitment, funding commitment, devising business cases and funding models that get accepted, facilitating collaboration between data managers and IT departments, implementation of operational governance and data content infrastructure, and, lastly, raising data quality.

With so many parts and functions involved in data management, perhaps it may be oversimplifying things to say better or more complete data-governance planning is the key, when doing that requires attention to other aspects such as communicating, funding and implementing a governance plan. So, perhaps the endeavor for the months ahead is to address all these multiple moving parts – both those within data governance and management plans and those outside them that are necessary to make those plans a reality.

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