The Importance of Fostering Collaboration Through Data Governance

When IT and Business Partner for Governance Success, Everybody Wins

Mark PriebeJanuary 16, 2019

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Transforming enterprise data into analytical insights in order to enhance both organizational growth and revenue doesn’t require deep data science expertise. Instead, it requires a solid understanding of organizational data from a business standpoint, so business users across key departments can successfully leverage that data to derive actionable insights.

However, when IT and different lines of business fail to collaborate on data management efforts, the responsibility for managing and preparing data for everyone across an organization often defaults to IT resources. When that happens, business users are frequently left confused and confounded when IT uses SQL and other technical languages to describe data assets, forcing them to translate highly technical vocabulary into business terms.

As valuable as data is for organizations today, it is only an asset if business users can understand the information and transform it into improved business outcomes and relevant insights. To generate success with data, organizations must formally align diverging lines of business, technology, and processes to foster collaboration and break through any potential confusion business users face when leveraging data. This allows data consumers to quickly and efficiently use data to derive maximum benefit. The most effective strategy for fostering  collaboration between business and IT is to implement a comprehensive enterprise data governance model.

Encouraging Collaborative Data Governance

 Data governance is all about increasing the understanding of enterprise data by cultivating a culture of open communication and cooperation among lines of business and IT resources. By encouraging participation among everyone in the organization, empowering data users to leverage data, and assigning accountability for all data assets by data stakeholders and owners, data is used to its greatest potential. It promotes data utilization, appropriate and effective application and analysis, for the greatest business benefit.

Taking a collaborative approach to data governance requires full participation and teamwork among data owners in IT and across all lines of business. When disparate teams work together to define and document data, it builds consensus, commonality, and any confusion faced by business users deciphering data is eradicated. In addition, by engaging different departments and clearly defining roles and responsibilities among IT and business users, organizations can ensure everyone has a full understanding of their data assets. Business users can then easily and quickly derive meaningful insights from and make critical business decisions.

From a practical standpoint, this collaboration begins with establishing clear definitions and business terms across the enterprise through business glossaries, data dictionaries and data catalogs. Data usage is clearly defined, as well as data source and lineage. Data consumers have a clear knowledge repository for how to access data, what it means, and who owns it. They also can easily assess the quality of that data for different use cases.

The best vehicle for delivering such comprehensive, collaborative data governance is an all-inclusive solution suite that provides complete transparency into an organization’s data landscape.

Developing Collaborative Data Governance with the Right Technologies

The most effective solution suite for fostering collaboration provides a multitude of capabilities. First, look for a solution that delivers complete transparency into an organization’s data landscape. Business users should be able to easily and quickly define, track, and manage all aspects of their data assets. The solution needs to promote data quality across the entire data supply chain, and encourage data utilization for analytics to drive meaningful business insights.

The solution suite must also encourage a community approach to bring IT, diverging lines of business and data together. Ideally, it will clearly define ownership and accountability for every data asset in the enterprise. That way, business users know what resource to access when they have questions about data.

In addition, the solution suite should provide business users with simple interfaces, clear visualizations, and easily navigable workflows to promote communication between IT and different business departments. With the right data governance model and technologies, organizations can successfully implement a collaborative data governance program that seamlessly aligns business and IT, and leverages data as an enterprise-wide asset.

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