In which Jill describes her (often-inappropriate) dreams--one of which is that people will embrace more formalized ways of doing business. (And that means you, Steve!)
You know that dreamâthe one where youâre running to take a final exam for a college course you never attended? And youâre naked? Almost everyone I know has had that dream. Well, okay, not the naked part. Thatâs just me. But thatâs for another blog.
The stress of doing something weâre really not ready for is ingrained so deeply in some part of our psyche that it manifests in weird ways. We feel, uh, exposed. Not being ready is a really uncomfortable thing.
But sometimes we donât know what we donât know. Take data governance. We might be ready to begin establishing formal policies for enterprise data definition, access, and usage, and to set up an actual council to formalize the process. But we might not know it. Itâs akin to never having gone to class, so we donât realize how much we really do know.
For instance, we keep listening to our business users make the same complaints about inaccurate data, to the point where weâve become pretty agile at manual fixes. After all, weâve done it hundreds of times. On a good day, we might even have the same rules of engagement for different data problems from different business users. Of course, theyâre not written down anywhere and thereâs no automated way to register and track the fixes, but people all seem to know what to do and whom to call when they need meaningful data.
In my client work I see a single common denominator that usually indicates that itâs time to formalize data governance and data management processes. The common denominator is this: an over-reliance on human relationships. Users go to Steve because Steve knows what to do to fix the data. Heâs pretty quick about it, too. Plus, Steve knows Todd, the owner of the operational systems, who can generate a manual data extract from the Billing system in less than ten days. If you knew the Billing system, youâd know that was fast.
The point here isnât that designing a data governance framework will solve everyoneâs problems, though itâs an effective first step. The point is, what could Steve, Todd, and the tired but earnest business users who rely on them be doing with the time they spend discovering and fixing data problems? Maybe they could set some rules and guidelines. Maybe they could proactively profile their data and nip quality problems in the proverbial bud.
Maybe one of them could become the Data Czar and begin establishing some formal processes and rules for ongoing data hygiene. But until data governance and the accompanying data management processes are truly formalized, itâs a good bet that the emperor will have no clothes.
In fact, that reminds me of a dream I hadâŚ
Posted November 25, 2007 2:02 PM
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