Do Data Governance Initiatives Age Out?

It’s very rare that I’m able to give a definite answer to a Data Governance question, more often than not my answer is: it depends. So many aspects of Data Governance are nuanced and depend very much on your organisation’s objectives and what you hope to get out of implementing Data Governance.  However, this is not one of those times.

You will have heard me say many times that Data Governance takes a long time and you’ve probably experienced this for yourself. And therefore, I suppose it is reasonable that you will be asking yourself ‘will I ever get to the end of this data governance initiative?’

Now, this may not be the answer you are looking for, but I can tell you from my many years’ experience… I’m not sure you ever get to the end. They should never age out.

If you’ve ever watched any of my videos or read any of my other blogs, then you’ll know that I’m a huge advocate of doing Data Governance iteratively. You cannot put Data Governance in place over all the data in your organisation to the same extent, at the same time. The only way to do it successfully is to do it incrementally. That means it is going to take you a long time and you are going to be focusing on one particular domain or function or system at a time. It is going to take you quite some time to work your way across the whole organisation.

I think it’s only fair to assume that during that time your organisation will evolve and change – it’s what happens. You need to be constantly reviewing your organisation, reviewing your corporate strategy, and checking the Data Governance framework you have now is fit for purpose. If your organisation is changing around you, it would be wrong to assume that your Data Governance framework didn’t need to adapt and evolve to keep up with that.

So, in my opinion, no. I don’t think Data Governance initiatives do age out. I do think it would be wonderful to get to the stage where it is so embedded into the business that people think about their data and question it and do the right things with it. But, in my opinion, we’re probably a long way away from that.

Even if you do achieve that utopian goal of truly embedded Data Governance, I still think that you will always need some central Data Governance support, making sure that principles never get forgotten.

There will always be some change that needs to be taken into account. The one thing that anybody who has done any of my training courses will know is that I am very clear that Data Governance is not a project. Data Governance doesn’t go away. It doesn’t stop.

Originally published on www.nicolaaskham.com.

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