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How to justify and support your data governance initiative

We find a growing number of businesses are either looking to start or optimize data governance programs to better control data. But as we learned from this week’s Data Governance Winter Conference in breezy Delray Beach, Florida, there are often two major roadblocks that can stand in the way. The first hurdle is often gaining executive buy-in and justifying the need for data governance to senior leadership. And once a data governance program is up and running, many data practitioners struggle with establishing the right processes to create a sustainable program.

Let’s take a deeper look and explore how you can navigate these challenges.

Roadblock: Justifying your data governance program to senior leaders

Many data governance initiatives start from the ground up, and it can be difficult to justify the need for investing in the right people, processes, and technology to get your program started. A best practice that we have found (and many conference speakers were preaching) is identifying specific business problems that would be remedied with the implementation of a data governance program. That way, there is data behind how implementing data governance will make a positive impact on your organization.

Solution: Tie the resolution of key business problems to your data governance program

Wondering where you can get started? Data quality is an essential first step in the data governance journey. With a clear picture of the data that you have, you can implement precise standards and valuable business rules and have confidence that reliable data is being entered into your program. Data quality issues are also some of the most straightforward ways to identify saved time, money, and resources when they are resolved. By identifying key business issues that can be resolved (and let’s not forget the impact to your bottom line) with improved data quality, it can make the decision to invest in data governance a no-brainer in the eyes of senior leaders.

Roadblock: Putting in place the right processes to create a sustainable program

At the heart of any sustainable data governance program are processes that work across the entire business. Some data governance programs come from the top down. Senior leaders identify the need for better control over their data but aren’t implementing processes that work for every department, which in turn can lead to a program that isn’t sustainable or scalable across the entire business.

Solution: Don’t force the puzzle piece. Create a data governance council to ensure each department is represented in the program’s structure.  

By creating a team of people with key stakeholders, you can create a data governance council that has inputs across different departments. That way each voice is heard when building the program, and it can be seamlessly implemented into the day-to-day jobs of each employee. And just like that, data governance goes from feeling forced to a part of your business culture.

Data governance is not a check-the-box kind of initiative. It takes the right team of people with the right processes, all supported by the right technology. Whether you are just getting started on your journey to data governance or already have an established program, one thing is for sure: when it comes to data governance you can’t run before you can walk.

Time and time again, organizations are seeing success when they identify the specific business issues that will be resolved with the implementation of a data governance program. Your first step? Get an accurate picture of your data with a data quality solution, which is the foundation of any successful data governance program.

Learn more about how Experian can help you tackle your data governance initiatives. 

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