Data Governance Interview with Prasanna V-S

I am so pleased that for this Data Governance interview, Prasanna V-S kindly agreed to share his insights and experience. Prasanna is currently a Data Governance Specialist at Fidelity Investments at Raleigh-Durham, NC, in the United States;

In his role, he is focused on data governance and metadata management with a goal in mind of accelerating associates’ ability to find, trust, and consume data along with a strong focus on data policies/compliance as well. He strongly believes that effective data governance is all about treating data as a business asset and in order to achieve that as a governance specialist, he strives to embed governance across different areas of the organization by playing part educator/strategist and part governance platform management.

How long have you been working in Data Governance?

I have been in Data governance and metadata management for about 3-3.5 years now.

Some people view Data Governance as an unusual career choice, would you mind sharing how you got into this area of work?

 Yes, you’re right; But I think that is changing right now at least here in the US. I initially started my career at Accenture as a Technology consultant in more traditional areas like BI/Analytics, but I think somewhere along the line, I was exposed to areas such as a Business Glossary, Data Quality, and Data lineage which in recent years is referred to as Data governance.

Now, I would say I got the strongest exposure to the breadth of Governance areas such as Glossary, Data catalog, Data lineage, Data guidelines/Privacy policies in my current role. I got into my current role as I was personally really excited about the opportunity to work in interesting areas like Data catalog to break data silos, advanced Data privacy-related work, etc. which in some sense are advanced use cases in governance.

What characteristics do you have that make you successful at Data Governance and why?

 I believe I possess the skills to take a complex/abstract topic and simplify it for an audience (to both leadership/technical teams), which is very crucial in Data governance as a lot of the concepts/use cases are rather abstract to explain in terms of value add, etc.

Further, I also think I possess the necessary technical skills to roll-up my sleeves and manage governance platforms, partner with technical teams (where metadata usually originates) along with strong communication skills to maintain a strong working relationship with vertical and horizontal layers in the organization.

You work a lot with the Financial Services Industry – how mature would you say they are in Data Governance?

 I actually work in the Financial Services industry. I do keep up with my counterparts in other organizations and updates through governances conferences, etc. and my personal impression is that Financial Services is probably among the more mature sector in implementing Data Governance.

This is partly driven by regulatory requirements and also a strong theme among organizations to enable a data-driven culture and the realization that effective data governance/focus on data quality is key to getting there.

How clearly do you believe that Financial Services view the difference between Data Governance and Information Governance?

 I think there’s a general lack of awareness of Data governance and its necessity/benefits, etc. whereas in a lot of organizations there’s already a strong Information governance establishment, whether its IT Security/Audit, Risk, and compliance, etc.

In some organizations, probably lesser in Financial services than in other industries, there’s not always a clear delineation between the two, and even within Financial services, I have seen a few cases where Governance related initiatives tend to be owned by Information governance teams, especially in its nascent stages.

Obviously, it really boils down to winning that executive support/sponsorship by establishing a strong business case for governance initiatives and being able to tie it down to activating use cases tied to revenue (for instance, effective governance serving analytical teams making data discovery easier ) and supporting privacy policies, etc. as well.

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