How Your Business Culture Impacts Your Data Governance Strategy

How Your Business Culture Impacts Your Data Governance Strategy

Many companies make one huge mistake when implementing their data governance plan.  They assume that once they develop related policies and implement the needed technology solutions to support the strategy, the rest will take care of itself.

These organizations are, unfortunately, in for a rude awakening.  What they don’t realize is that existing business cultures will have a profound impact on how those initiatives are carried out.  In other words, a company’s “personality” and working environment may have as much to do with data governance success as any other factor in the plan.  For example, the willingness – or lack thereof – of both IT and business stakeholders to embrace new initiatives can make or break the strategy.  Or, pre-existing tension between departments and business units can halt the collaboration needed to get the project off the ground in the first place.  

What are some business culture “problems” that can have the greatest impact on a data governance strategy?

Lack of Communication
Many businesses suffer from poor communication across various levels and departments.  And, others are so eager to get their critical projects into play, they often dive right in without properly informing and educating their employees about the plan.  When it comes to data governance, this approach can create major problems.  For example, if stakeholders don’t understand why data governance is important, don’t know how it works, or don’t see how it applies to them, they are likely to be lax when it comes to complying with related policies and procedures.   

Too Many “Cooks Stirring the Pot”

While contribution and consensus among all departments that will be affected by data governance is critical, companies who are prone to forming “mega-committees” to spearhead important projects may see their data governance efforts fail.  Action and execution will end up taking a back seat to meetings, bureaucracy, and debate, and these businesses will likely never get past the policy-making phase.  

Failure to Synchronize and Coordinate
Employees get used to working a certain way, and asking them to significantly alter how they perform their day-to-day activities is likely to be met with some resistance.  Yet, many companies simply demand that employees follow certain data governance processes – no matter how different from current workflows they may be – without any consideration as to whether or not those staff members are capable of carrying those procedures out, and how other responsibilities will be affected.  What these organizations are forgetting is that governance processes are not separate and distinct.  They must be seamlessly integrated into any related IT and business activity they will impact.  

Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Countless companies make the mistake of introducing a major strategy with much noise and fanfare, then executing on that plan quietly, without keeping employees informed of new developments, results, etc.  When it comes to data governance, this is a surefire way for employees to lose interest, because they’ll associate the lack of “hoopla” with a lack of importance.  Conducting ongoing training on new data governance techniques, or setting milestones that track and measure the benefits a data governance strategy is delivering can help keep the initiative at the forefront of employees’ minds, and maintain focus on their goals and responsibilities in carrying out that plan.   

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