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Kelle O'Neal

Thanks for joining our data conversation! This blog is an opportunity to share the real life challenges, opportunities and approaches to improving the quality and value of data in your organization. We will write about everything data related from translating "data" speak into "business" speak, to governance models, to the real differences among the myriad software tools available. But there's one catch: we all have to agree to toss out the fluff. That's right, no 30,000 foot, theoretical strategies that leave you wondering how to execute and actually improve performance. Visit regularly to learn from peers and partners on how they are managing and improving data, and we hope you'll also share your views and experiences.

About the author >

As Founder and Managing Partner of First San Francisco Partners, Kelle O’Neal manages specialist data governance and data management consulting services to complex organizations that deliver faster time to results. Kelle can be reached at kelle@firstsanfranciscopartners.com or through the First San Francisco Partners website.

Follow First San Francisco Partners on Twitter at @1stSanFrancsico.

Editor's Note: Find more articles and resources in Kelle's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!


September 2015 Archives


Getting people to adopt new data processes and policies is a common challenge for organizations that are getting started with data governance.

Organizations will have the greatest chance of success in overcoming this hurdle if they focus their efforts on ensuring data governance awareness, data ownership and accountability for actions.

Read on for 10 tips to help people take personal ownership of data governance beyond their job functions.
  1. Ensure that all people understand not only WHAT it is they are supposed to be doing but WHY.
  2. Educate people on the impacts of the data management processes and their behavior and how it can penalize or promote the organization's data initiatives.
  3. Plan for some of the training to be done in a cross-functional group so people can understand how their behavior, activities and roles impact others' jobs.
  4. Raise awareness of new data management processes and of progress that has been made over time through targeted communication. Communication can either be "pushed," where the Data Governance Office sends information such as metrics and milestones out to key business stakeholders, or it can be "pulled," where people have access to and can obtain information when they choose.
  5. Establish roles and responsibilities around data management that are aligned with business strategy, being sure to obtain agreement by the Executive Steering Committee first. Then assign roles to each resource, ensuring that each role is not specifically tied to any one person.
  6. Formalize the roles and announce their resource assignments to the organization so they are clearly understood, and individuals can effectively assume ownership.
  7. Align people behind the data goals of your organization and provide clarity on priorities and actions.
  8. Decide how best to encourage desired behavior as well as discourage undesirable behavior, depending on the cultural norms within your organization.
  9. Conduct a workshop or awareness session with the relevant cross-functional groups to ensure everyone hears the same messages as well as understands the broader program. This also provides a time and place for questions to be answered in a single forum.
  10. Establish a system to communicate, measure and monitor progress.
With a thorough understanding of the new data management processes, how they fit into the broader data governance program and how the program benefits the organization, as well as who is responsible for what and how each person's role impacts that of others, people gain a sense of personal responsibility for the success of the company -  that not only helps with adoption of data governance but motivates adherence to it as well.


Posted September 22, 2015 3:51 PM
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So, in your initial efforts to transform your company into the true data governance organization it is destined to become, you've successfully identified the best-fit operating model. Now what?

Now that you've articulated the specific roles and responsibilities that will best address your company's unique data needs and priorities, the next step is to assemble a team of people capable of making the right decisions about data and identifying business challenges that can be addressed using that data.

Focus your initial efforts on recognizing and involving those people and groups within your current organization who are already engaged in data management activities. Not only will this allow the enterprise to leverage existing corporate knowledge, but it will ensure cross-functional participation from data stakeholders and, importantly, minimize the impact to the current organization.

Survey the organization to determine who may already be fulfilling needed roles and responsibilities. Some questions to ask:
  • Who is creating the data?
  • Who is managing the data?
  • Who is measuring the data?
  • Who is ensuring data quality?
  • Does anyone have 'data' in their title?
Be thorough in your assessment. There may be people who "fly under the radar" - those whose title masks their engagement with data or who are part of a distributed organization where they may not initially be recognized as a functional member of the enterprise. 

Conducting a stakeholder analysis, as touched on in an earlier blog post, where individuals and groups are mapped according to their level of influence within the organization and level of interest in (i.e., impact by) the organizational transformation, may reveal additional prospects.

After compiling an inventory of "data people," identify any roles and skill sets that may be missing according to your data strategy. See if there other positions in the organization where people may have analogous yet transferable skill sets.

Beyond assigning people to new roles and, when appropriate, providing new titles, you'll need to review their compensation and performance objectives and ensure these are in alignment with expectations. You'll want to be sure that the new roles and responsibilities are assigned to the right people at the right level within the organization and with the right incentives so that when they are involved in decision making, they have the capability, credibility and focus to make the right decisions.

Only as your data management and governance needs grow - and internal resources are exhausted - should you seek to fill those roles by hiring from outside the organization.

Posted September 21, 2015 8:30 AM
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