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Q&A after our data governance webinar (2/3)

A few weeks ago Nicola Askham (The Data Governance Coach) and I delivered a webinar on Automating Data Governance. For those you who might have missed the live event check out the replay.     

If you watch the replay you’ll observe that it’s much more of a conversation about data governance, it’s challenges and ways to scale. And of course having Nicola on the webinar was great. She’s passionate about data governance and has many anecdotes/solutions on common problems you will encounter.

There were several questions that we couldn’t get to on the webinar and over the past couple of weeks several more have come across via email. We’ve decided to use these blog posts to follow up on those questions.  (To ask questions of your own please feel free to contact us).

Today’s question:

What level of granularity would you start data governance at?   

Nicola Askham writes:  

Is it sensible to govern attributes, entities or classes/types of information?  Owners generally create information, which we put into data forms, should they own all data elements that define the information?  

That’s a great question.  You are correct that information consists of different data elements but different data elements are used in multiple different information sets.  Taking the approach that the information owner owned all constituent data elements of their information would result in multiple data owners. That could lead to confusion, chaos and ultimately a deterioration in the quality of your data!

For data governance to be successful, there should only ever be one data owner per dataset or attribute. I always recommend that unless you are doing a master data project (in which case the correct approach is to identify data owners for each individual data element) that you start by finding data owners at a conceptual level.   

An example of how I would go about this is that customer data is owned by Sales (or Marketing) and finance data is owned by Finance.  This may seem a little simplistic to begin with, but it allows the conversation about ownership to get started.  Then when appropriate you can delve down into the detail and find the correct owners for each attribute.

If you'd like to learn more about data governance, data governance training and Nicola visit The Data Governance Coach.   And if you'd like to learn more about Orchestra Networks offering please visit our DG landing page.