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Engaging the business in Data Governance

Even a medium sized financial enterprise will have vast amounts of critical data elements (CDEs) – many of these will exist as spreadsheets managed by the end user.  The purist approach to data governance is to track down all CDEs, assign an owner for each one and build governance processes around that.  You might as well try to eat a mammoth!

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Once the unified data strategy has been set we advise our clients to start the governance journey with an essential core of data domains, and then to adopt new businesses and CDEs over time – as prioritised by regulation and the operational needs of the business.  This approach provides results quicker and yields benefits which in turn engender desire to participate within the business silos.  Let’s be frank, that is the biggest battle.  It is not enough to mandate, it is necessary to demonstrate the value and to bring people on side.

We have seen the benefits of this pragmatic approach from organisations that have had to start over after a failed project, which may have created active hostility towards data governance.  In our experience, starting small and demonstrating value will create a governance culture more quickly throughout the business.