• Conrad Chuang

Advice from the Carlyle Group on implementing integrated data governance

Last week (June 9, 2016) Edie Ashton, Principal for Global Technology & Solutions, and Danielle Cuteri, Associate Vice President for Fund Management, from the The Carlyle Group delivered the data governance keynote address at the MDM & Data Governance Summit in San Francisco.

Completely packed room of DG, MDM, and RDM professionals waiting for the keynote to begin

Mss. Ashton and Cuteri distilled the Carlyle Group's experience into a comprehensive case study on implementing a unified data governance and data management program. While the presentation is full of interesting observations and advice. There are a couple points I'd like to highlight.

Data governance requires strong leadership and partnership:

Lots of organizations pay lip service to IT and business partnership. In this talk, we saw what partnership looks like when it's real. We had a speakers from IT and the business. They were working from the same playbook. They articulated the same goals. And they described their shared strategy. The Carlyle team is an example of the type of collaboration that's required to execute successful, well-functioning data governance programs.

Vertical and horizontal data lineage:

One unique aspect of the Carlyle implementation is their development of "data lineages". The team has horizontal data lineage. Or how data evolves as it passes through the business processes and between the organization's enterprise applications. And the team has vertical data lineage. This was created by interrelating: business glossary, data dictionary, systems and actual data. With vertical lineage the team can map out where key concepts exist and assess if conceptual definitions are consistent with data throughout the organization.

Ms. Ashton highlights the differences between the horizontal and vertical data lineage

On being pragmatic:

Data governance is tough. That's why the Carlyle team emphasized the importance of being patient and pragmatic. One bit of advice was to choose discrete projects that can prove the value of governance.

Ms. Ashton drove this home when describing their investor entitlements project. While it was initially thought of a technical issue—access management. Upon analysis the team realized it was a data governance and master data management problem. This was because of the complex entitlement rules. Successful (and quick) implementation by the team created momentum and excitement, and a seeded knowledge base that supports governance projects today.

Ms. Ashton describing the investor entitlements project and its architecture

Data governance requires a culture shift:

The Carlyle team had very concrete advice on how to accelerate change management:

  • Look for places to shift the process from break-fix to quality-at-point of entry,

  • Find tools that empower businesses users,

  • Incorporate reporting/dashboards to power your continuous improvement process, and (my favorite)

  • Make information accessible to everyone on-demand.

Ms. Cuteri relayed how simply providing firm-wide access to the business glossary—in this case via the Sharepoint portal—has fostered a shift in behavior. People no longer debate definitions and terminology. When there's disagreement. They open the portal. They look up the terms and get on the same page. Making this information easy to access reduces the resistance to change. Also, the organization experiences how data governance is making their day-to-day better. This first hand experience builds support for sustaining the data governance effort.

Ms. Cuteri shows the attendees how Carlyle made its glossary widely accessible

All in all, it was a great presentation and I hope to hear more from these speakers in the future.