Nicola Askham’s executive summary for our Data Governance Report 2017

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Nicola Askham (The Data Governance Coach) summarised and wrote our executive summary for the report, here’s what she made of our findings…

It has been a popular opinion that over the past few years there has been an increased focus on data governance, but until now any evidence has been largely anecdotal. This survey has been an excellent tool in assessing the maturity of the data governance market and highlights some interesting areas. There has been a perception that only large corporates are embracing this data management discipline and most of them only because a regulator requires them to. It is very interesting to note that of the organisations who participated, nearly half of them were from small and medium-size organisations.

There has also been a decided shift towards companies implementing data governance for the benefits that can be achieved, rather than because they “have to”. Organisations are starting to understand that good quality data can help them achieve their strategy and objectives. It is heartening that a resounding 39% of respondents confirmed that they do have a data governance framework in place. And in terms of how long organisations have been doing data governance, it is interesting that only a very small percentage have been doing this for more than three years. One of the questions I am often asked when starting an engagement with a new client is: how long will it take to fully implement and embed a data governance framework? This really is a “how long is a piece of string” question! The answer will depend on the size and complexity of the organisation, as well as their openness to change. Notwithstanding these factors, I always say is that will take six months to a year before you notice any benefits and at least a further year, before a data governance framework can become truly embedded in your organisation. The results of this survey have confirmed that these timescales hold true across most organisations. The high percentage of organisations with executive buy in for the data governance initiatives is heartening and illustrates that this is linked to how well the business understand the value of data governance. This reinforces the message that you need executive sponsorship for long-term data governance success and sustainability.
In a world where big data and analytics are seen as the sexy or trendy things to be doing, it has been of concern to me that too many companies were jumping on the exciting side of analysing and visualising their data without realising that if the data is of poor quality they could well be making decisions based on the wrong data. So for me, the strong focus on doing data governance so that they can make better decisions is fantastic. One area of concern raised by this survey is the high percentage of respondents that have not got any central support for the data governance framework, or even have plans to put that in place. In my experience without at least one person in your organisation having responsibility for and supporting the data governance framework, it is unlikely to be sustainable in the long-term. Failure to do this can result in your data governance initiative being seen as a one-off project and once the initial work has been done everyone may revert back to their old ways of working.

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Daniel Warburton

Co-Founder, CIO WaterCooler

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