I was gifted a visit to a Michelin restaurant once. It looked and felt like a nice country pub in every way, but when I tasted the leek and potato soup… wow. And I mean, WOW!
I know, how good could leek and potato soup be, you ask? Well, let me tell you, my wife asked the same question, and so I passed the spoon. The look on her face told me that there’s a level of taste nirvana above what most of us can imagine without experiencing it.
I quickly asked for the spoon back.
Now imagine going back to that restaurant at a later date, anticipating that first taste of the soup you remember and getting a watery, flavourless mush instead. Curious, you take a look in the kitchen and see ingredients everywhere, chefs throwing them in without a care, no organisation, things rotting on the sides… you get the picture
The potential of data to help us improve our businesses has led to huge demand for those tasty, high-quality data outputs. Whether that be AI, visualisations, or analytics, companies are still waking up to the possibilities that effective use of their data can open up for them.
But, as a chef needs to source the right ingredients, check their freshness, and consistently utilise them in the right way to make a delicious leek and potato soup, so do businesses to make sure they are sourcing the right data with the right quality, that is consistent, secure, accurate and usable to get the best results from it.
Data Governance has become a much bigger topic as a result. As businesses seek to make sure the data they are using to make decisions is of a high enough quality to give them positive outcomes as well as meet regulator’s increasing requirements. A quick look at Google Trends for Data Governance as a topic shows that continued growth in interest.
So how do you know where to focus your Data Governance efforts?
Maturity Assessments are the natural starting point for many companies looking to find out where they are starting from in order to map out the pathway to their vision.
Done badly, you get a score of one to five and a few recommendations that leave you scratching your head as to how they add value.
Done well, they deliver many benefits to a business looking for direction giving you:
- A baseline of where you are at
- Understanding of how that aligns to best practice
- Prioritisation of areas to focus on in the short, medium and long-term based on the value they bring
- A roadmap to setting out how to achieve those priorities
But for me, the real value of the Data Governance Maturity Assessment is in the conversations you have. It can be difficult to get into the calendars of our most senior stakeholders so one way is to give them the chance to express the problems they are having and the opportunities they have if they could only get past X, Y and Z.
Remember, at this point it’s about listening, asking questions, and reflecting back to them to show you’ve heard what they’ve said. This isn’t about trying to find the solutions to all their problems in an hour.
Once you’ve really understood their needs, then you can ensure your roadmap prioritises and resolves the biggest problems which will help get you the buy-in needed for the time and resources to achieve that roadmap.
Sounds great, so let’s go do a Data Governance Maturity Assessment for the whole business!
Well, maybe not just yet. If you go too big, you might end up finding so much that needs sorting that you just won’t be able to get the resources needed to resolve the issues. A great chef won’t try to cook 20 new meals all at once! To your stakeholders, you might end up being another person who came to speak to them and delivered nothing.
Instead, start by finding the problems everyone’s talking about, or an important area of the business strategy that’s reliant on data to help deliver it. Talk to people in those areas to get an idea of how important data is to them, the problems they have, and find the opportunities to improve that data to create more value for the business.
Oakland knows that like creating a great meal, finding the right ingredients to make data work for a business can be difficult. However, we can support you by helping you understand how and where to start your data governance efforts for maximum effect. A data governance maturity assessment can help you find the ingredients you already have and help you plan the right ones to add at the right time to create that sumptuous meal that will keep people coming back for more.
P.S DM me if you want to know where to get that Leek & Potato soup!
Rob Lancashire is a Senior Consultant at Oakland