Data Governance: Key to Data Management Cover Page

Data Governance: The Key to Data Management (Part 4), by Tom Marine

The final installment (Part 4) in the outstanding series by Tom Marine on data governance

We’re pleased to present Part Four in our data governance series by Tom Marine. In Part One, he talked about setting up the data governance charter. In Part Two, he covered capturing the current state. In Part Three, he looked at the difficult task of optimizing your workflows to a future state: to better define where you want to go. And finally, here in Part Four, Tom discusses what it will take to get there, using gap analysis. He also discusses the people factor for building a better organizational culture.

Part 4: Process Improvements – Gap Analysis + Conclusion

Gap Analysis, Justifications and Power of the People

Part of a complete data governance initiative is understanding “who?” and “how?” data management will be able to come to fruition and then evolve in the organization. In order to achieve this, there are three key areas that need your consideration:

  1. Gap Analysis
  2. Return on Investment (ROI)
  3. People Management

Where are the Gaps?

A gap analysis looks at the different areas as they currently exist, and then compares them to the destination that the organization desires.

  • People – Do the human resources you have match what you’ve defined as necessary to achieve your optimal state? If not, does training need to occur? Are additional resources required? Are there some resources that are expendable? Is this an opportunity to streamline the workforce? Is it time to improve the workforce? Does the talent match the requirement? Can resources be re-allocated?
  • Technology – Does the current infrastructure meet the requirements of the future state (and beyond)? Does enterprise software accommodate the requirements? Does desktop hardware meet the requirements? Does desktop software align with the infrastructure and hardware? Does the technology roadmap logically lead the company towards the future state?
  • Processes – Although the new processes should have been defined in the future state, that may only be for the affected areas of the project – merchandising/product management, advertising /creative. However, there will be other departments that may end up having tangential processes needing to be addressed, like purchasing, distribution/warehouse, and accounting. Maybe those departments won’t have every-day access, but they may end up being affected, see opportunities to further improve data movement or require changes to their processes that may have been unforeseen or new processes.

Building a heuristic price model and ROI

  • Gathering pricing from vendors can be time consuming and frustrating. If you don’t know the right questions to ask, or if you don’t have your requirements fully developed, solution providers may not even give estimates, and if they are, they will probably not be accurate, or at the least, extremely over priced.
  • Having guidance in this area to deal with the vendors will provide quicker and more accurate responses in order to build budgetary requirements. Having done these before, this consulting will allow for closer generalities in order to help in the decision-making process.
  • Gathering ROI information requires both insightful experience and on-the-ground research and tenacity. The legwork will need to be done internally, but the direction on where to look can be provided by the consultant.
  • One place to start would be – any type of metrics currently captured that apply to the above “Reasons to Change.”

People Management

Because of the human resource gap analysis and the amount of change that happens during a data management change, people management is very important to data governance initiatives.

For instance, the RASCI chart is all about people and the changes they’ll be expected to make. Creating accountability starts by managing those individuals and groups of individuals. One key differentiator for managers to grasp is the difference between empowering and enabling.

  • Empower – Give your reports the ability to make decisions without asking for permission. If they’re trained correctly and given the appropriate knowledge, then they should be trusted to do what is right. If they don’t, then it becomes a development opportunity.
  • Enabling – If you have employees that are “covering” for the colleagues – doing their work for them because … “Well, if I don’t do it, then it won’t get done” – then it’s time for a dis-enabling exercise. Those that are being covered will never learn accountability as long as someone else swoops in and does the work. By stopping this, you’ll either force accountability or have a performance issue that will need to be addressed.

Here are some other key people management approaches to draw on as you develop your resources and build a team atmosphere. Some of these are ideal for workshops. Many times, the best results from workshops come through third party facilitation – someone leading without an agenda.

Zenger Miller Principles

  1. Focus on the situation, issue or behavior, not on the person
  2. Maintain the self-esteem and self-confidence of others
  3. Maintain constructive relationships
  4. Take the initiative to make things better
  5. Lead by Example

Empowerment Principles

  • Adult to adult conversations
  • Give decision making to those that make it
  • Don’t delegate
  • Accountability starts with you
  • Understanding the business as a whole
  • You can say “no”
  • Are you the right fit?
  • Owning your piece vs. “that’s not my job”
  • Create an environment that allows people to change their paradigm
  • Here are the major goals. How will you support them?

Giving Reviews

  • As a manager, focus on growth and accountability.
  • What do you like most about working here?
  • What do you expect from me?
  • How do you appraise your skills? Where are you now? What do you want to do now? Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What can you do to gather more information about yourself?
  • What’s one aspect of the job you’d like to change?
  • What’s your opinion as to what I say as to what I do?
  • How do you see my values?
  • What do you think other’s perceptions of you are? Your work?
  • What makes you happy?
  • What do you believe about my interest in you?
  • What is important to you at work?
  • We’re all leaders in a way (by example). What do you think about your leadership skills? Values?
  • What makes you unhappy?
  • What do you believe about my competency to carry out what I say I’ll do?
  • What are the barriers between us having a good working relationship?
  • Don’t defend or argue.
  • Thank for input.
  • What can I do to make your job more satisfying?
  • What are you willing to risk for change?
  • Are you confident that things can change?
  • What does motivation mean to you? I can’t motivate, I can only create an environment that helps you to.

A Sacred Place for Change

  • There needs to be a place … preferably with lots of white boards or cork board, secluded if possible, and the ability to keep it intact during the course of the engagement. (This also goes back to the “Priority Factoring” section – if you need this for multiple projects, you may have too much going on.)
  • Rules of Engagement for this place:
    • How valuable of an experience do you plan to have today?
    • How engaged and active do you plan to be?
    • How much risk are you willing to take?
    • How much do you care about the quality of the experience of those around you?
    • Everything in this meeting is confidential.
    • After meeting research is for information gathering only. No politics, please.
  • Ground Rules which make this sacred:
    • People are trying to do their best.
    • There is a lack of knowledge of others’ responsibilities (both ways).
    • It is acceptable to say the problem.
    • The Vegas Rule – what happens here, stays here
    • We are not solving the problems today.
  • “What” is the question. (Period.)
    • This can’t be stressed enough. An employee once said this was THE MOST IMPORTANT training she ever received. It helped her work life, her home life and relationships with her friends.
  • No “Telling”
    • The comments you make are your own and not someone else’s. You’re not going to speak for someone else.

Covey’s 7 Habits

  1. Be Proactive
  2. Begin with the End in Mind
  3. Put First Things First
  4. Think Win-Win
  5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
  6. Synergize
  7. Sharpen the Saw


There’s a certain sequence that needs to be followed to create the opportunity for success in a data management implementation … and that sequence starts by preparing for the changes first.

  1. Develop the DG Charter
  2. Develop the processes
  3. Develop the people
  4. Implement

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s not a weakness – it takes strength to recognize there’s the possibility of new and different perspectives. Objectivity, sincerity and support will create momentum within the organization that will outlast the project.

Don’t be afraid to bring up perspectives that have not been touched. Data management is all about applying data ideas to as many possibilities as you can find.

Be an evangelist! Seize the opportunity to be a change agent in your organization – you may find it’s the most rewarding professional experience of your career. And don’t forget to have fun!

Final Thoughts

We hope we’ve given you some useful tools and insights to help you bring more relevance and success to your Data Governance initiative. We’d love to hear your feedback on the four articles in the Comments section.

You can download the complete white paper here.

About Tom Marine

Tom Marine Head ShotTom is an accomplished executive with more than 30 years of marketing strategy integrated with technology. Tom strongly embraces cultural-training techniques. He has facilitated change in many different Data Management environments, from workflows in highly technical e-Commerce/legacy integrations to creative productivity planning in marketing-advertising-product management suites.
Tom’s technical areas of expertise include MDM/PIM, e-Commerce and Multichannel (Omnichannel) marketing with additional experience in data governance initiatives, data quality engagements, integration roadmaps, and taxonomy/hierarchy development. Having been a user, provider and consultant on MDM, Tom brings a 360-degree approach to the specific needs of technology solutions with marketing.

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