How Mature is Data Governance?

Last Thursday I was interviewed by Philip Russom, a veteran data management industry analyst, during a great webinar on MDM and data governance hosted by TDWI. In a report published in 2008, Philip wrote that “software automation specifically designed for data governance is somewhat light.” He repeated the other day that there remains a dearth of purpose-built data governance solutions and asked me what will catalyze the market. My answer, in a word, is maturity.

After talking with hundreds of companies over the past few years we’ve found that data governance programs inevitably reach a point when the mix of tools used to manage data governance fail. Failures occur when organizations attempt to scale their largely manual processes and collection of disjointed documents to expand the scope of data governance initiatives.  In the absence of enabling technology it becomes apparent that the investment in people and processes can’t be fully leveraged. We have used the collective experience of many of these organizations to develop a maturity model which helps companies understand where their program is in the data governance lifecycle and provides guidance on the right time to deploy technology.

There are several indications of maturity and growth in data governance programs.  We’ve been running a data governance survey on More than 60 percent of respondents indicated that they have implemented a data governance program or are planning to. Our consulting and systems integration partners see high demand for data governance program development services, and we have had active participation in our Data Governance Solution Advisory Board which includes several Fortune 100 companies. These are all very encouraging developments and a sure sign of the increasing maturity of the business practice of data governance.

What have been missing are solutions that can effectively manage data policies and operationalize business processes to implement a scalable, sustainable data governance program.   At the same time, while it’s heartening that the technology component of the people, process and technology needed is finally getting it’s time in the spotlight, we all need to remember that the objective is to put data governance into action, rather than attempt to replace the people or processes.

By the way, you can hear more about data governance from Philip Russom in a video interview we recently conducted with him.

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