Data Governance - A few steps to take you from Zero

Run Data Governance in a way your business people will love.


In my previous article "Data Governance is not a goal" I wrote about building a single access point to information which can help make Data Governance attractive to business and ensure its adoption. I'd like to share with you how we go about doing this.

Our solution is founded on 3 basic principles:

Information a few clicks away - our main goal is to make information easily available and not just information from the data warehouse, but any information (the definition of a business term, a methodology, a report, a spreadsheet) anything, literally a few clicks away.

Clarity - we want to enrich the technical information by setting it in its business context, so it can be easily used, is easy to understand even for people who don't use it on a daily basis or don't have a technical background.

Feedback - is a key feature for obtaining an assessment of the quality of content and even the content itself. One should be able to comment, ask questions, rank its quality and share content on any screen.

We've built a virtual space similar to Wikipedia which points to information, organises it and connects it into meaningful units. In this way it unlocks it and allows it to flow and work. It all sounds very natural and straightforward but it's easier said than done. Ask yourself how this type of information provision works today in your company. Try, for example, to find out what “labour turnover” means, who is responsible for it, and what reports or data are available about it. I'm pretty confident that none of the three basic principles I mentioned (a few clicks away, clarity, feedback) would be present.


How do we do it?  I'll only sketch out our first step:

  • install Encyclopaedia - our Information Touchpoint

  • our connectors automatically load and synchronise all the meaningful metadata sources available (e.g. lists of tables from databases, lists of reports from reporting platforms ...)

  • train and coach the users to document the business context of the business's most important datasets

The minimum requirement for a business definition is to capture the following attributes for each Information Object:

  • What is the business context?

  • Who has created and approved it?

  • Where is the information stored?

This is the first step in our five point plan. At the end of this step, we have a functional system, trained staff and tangible content. It's also a very important step in our quest for DG because you'll have started collecting crucial information about the ownership of and responsibility for the data. After executing all 5 steps you will have committed Teams and learnt how to keep the system updated and expanding continuously - and you will have progressed even further towards your goal.

That's not to say this is the only way, I'm just saying that this practice works for us and brings tangible results. Just take a look at the pictures of how your Ency Information Touchpoint can really look after a few months:)