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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!

One of the biggest challenges in implementing and sustaining a data governance program is determining the true impact the program has made to the organization.

While it may be a relatively straightforward process to identify things like changes in data accountability, the creation of new standards and policies, improvement in data quality, etc., the real challenge is determining how all of this progress has improved the bottom line.

Metrics are a good start, as they are already necessary to ensure alignment, relevance and value of your data initiative. But to truly translate measurement into tangible business value, you must link progress metrics with impact metrics and align everything to key business goals.

To accomplish this, you'll want to take a step back from focusing on the metric (any standard of measurement) or key performance indicator (a quantifiable metric that the data governance program has chosen that will give an indication of program performance) in isolation.

Start by looking at the business challenge, and then create the measurement and metrics that address the business need.

Instead of asking "How do I measure data lineage?" ask, "What is the issue I'm trying to address?"

The point is to clarify the issue - what is meant by the issue, why that issue is important and what is the change you'd like to see, i.e. the goal. Many times, just by clarifying "what you mean" and "why you care," you can come up with a way to track a change over time or measure the result. 

Remember, also, that measurement is iterative. The more you know, the more you can adjust your metrics and measurements to be more precise or focus on different things to drive value.

Once you've identified meaningful metrics for your organization, don't forget to create a communication plan to disseminate the findings. Communication is key to maintaining commitment. 

Metrics have no value if they are not aligned to the interests of stakeholders, so ensure there is some way of measuring how improvements to data (and to the governance of that data) are helping them progress toward their goals and translate the value statement into their own language.

Posted October 13, 2015 10:27 PM
Permalink | 1 Comment |

1 Comment

With over 20 years of experience building data governance programs, I couldn't agree with you more on the need to define metrics that can tell the right business story and the need to communicate it often.

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