What not to do when pitching a data governance project

Dont build a business case which makes it look like an IT led data management plan, says Forresters expert

Are you an IT manager? Did the management just shoot down your data management project? Are you still scratching your head as to why it suffered such a fate?

Well, according to Michele Goetz of Forrester Research, most IT managers in their attempt to build a business case for a data governance project tend to overlook one key aspect viz. the incentive for the business organization.

Goetz who serves enterprise architecture professionals at the global research firm says that the number one question she gets from her clients regarding their data strategy and data governance is, How do I create a business case?

Goetz says that the very question is the kiss of death for any such project.

In one of her recent blog postings she stresses that IT managers often make the mistake of projecting a data governance plan as an IT initiative. When in fact, a sound data strategy is one which not only puts the needs of the business first; it communicates business value in terms the executives understand.

You created an IT strategy that has placed emphasis on helping to optimize IT data management efforts, lower total cost of ownership and reduce cost, and focused on technical requirements to develop the platform. There may be a nod toward helping the business by highlighting the improvement in data quality, consistency, and management of access and security in broad vague terms. The data strategy ended up looking more like an IT plan to execute data management, she writes.

This leaves the business folks wondering whats in it for them?

Goetz urges IT managers need to rethink their approach and start thinking like the business when pitching a data governance project. According to her, IT managers need to do the following:

Change your data strategy to a business strategy. Recognize the strategy, objectives, and capabilities the business is looking for related to key initiatives. Your strategy should create a vision for how data will make these business needs a reality.
Stop searching for the business case. The business case should already exist based on project requests at a line of business and executive level. Use the input to identify a strategy and solution that supports these requests.
Avoid shiny object syndrome. As you keep up with emerging technology and trends, keep these new solutions and tools in context. There are more data integration, database, data governance, and storage options than ever before and one size does not fit all. Leverage your research to identify the right technology for business capabilities. Nike KD

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