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Seeing Data Governance Through Risk-Tinted Glasses?

I often hear that many senior leaders (CEO, CFO and of course CRO - Chief Risk Officers) consider data governance to be a subset of their GRC (Governance, Risk and Compliance) organization - and its main focus should just be to reduce risk and ensure regulatory compliance.  

Now clearly, risk and compliance are common and critical entry points for many data governance programs - especially for highly regulated organizations like financial services and healthcare. But that sells short the full business value a successful DG effort can deliver.  Many organizations leverage DG best practices to reduce costs, improve efficiencies, improve customer experiences, make better decisions, grow their businesses, and more.  

When I was with Forrester I fielded a survey that asked the question on what most closely described the respondent’s data governance efforts, and believe it or not at that time only 11% said it was “Primarily focused on governance, risk, and compliance (GRC), as well as security and privacy concerns”. And you’ll notice the poll on the home screen of www.GovernYourData.com is asking a similar question regarding the primary purpose of your DG effort. While I’m not ready to share the full results of this still active poll, I will share that less than 7% so far have answered “Support Governance, Risk and Compliance” as their primary objective. (I’m waiting to hit a certain number of responses before publishing the poll results for you and opening the results for discussion. If you haven’t answered the poll question yet, please do!)

So my question is this: how many of you have faced (or are currently facing) the challenge of convincing your business leaders that data governance is a greater opportunity than they may currently understand.  And how are you building that case?

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For a recent client, I used "support the improvement of compliance with regulations (BASEL II and III, PATRIOT Act, etc.)" as one of the primary reasons for the business case in the EIM and data governance programs.  One challenge at this client was to get them to realize they had a major problem in compliance with these regulations concerning their data management and that data governance could assist them in resolving those challenges.  Despite heroic efforts from my champion in the leadership, the rest of the leaders in IT and the business chose not to adopt the approach we recommended, despite the small cost of our business case.  Selling to those who are not ready to buy is extremely difficult.

Thanks Anne Marie, unfortunately that story is all-too-familiar for many evangelists.  

Anne Marie said:

For a recent client, I used "support the improvement of compliance with regulations (BASEL II and III, PATRIOT Act, etc.)" as one of the primary reasons for the business case in the EIM and data governance programs.  One challenge at this client was to get them to realize they had a major problem in compliance with these regulations concerning their data management and that data governance could assist them in resolving those challenges.  Despite heroic efforts from my champion in the leadership, the rest of the leaders in IT and the business chose not to adopt the approach we recommended, despite the small cost of our business case.  Selling to those who are not ready to buy is extremely difficult.

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