In our previous episodes, we have defined data governance and stewardship. It is time now to explain data management.
We all (well, most of us anyway) agree that data is an asset, rules the world, is the new oil and so on. Now, ask yourself the two following questions:
- First: “Who can use the company’s checkbook?”
- And then: “Who can export company data to Excel?”
In both cases, someone is moving (and possibly stealing) corporate assets, right? Data, unlike money, is too frequently treated lightly. And it is way easier to alter, duplicate and move than actual money.
Yet, you cannot lock data as you would lock a checkbook in a drawer, because everyone needs data to do their job.
In a modern enterprise, data management is everyone’s work. When one creates, modifies or moves a piece of data, he is actually "doing data management". The big question is: “how does he do it?”. Is it in an ungoverned way (without definitions, rules, roles and privileges)? With or without the required help to understand the rules and see them enforced?
As you cannot put a cop behind each citizen, you cannot put excessive over control all the data. Some critical data (credit card numbers, for example) require strict control. For most of your data, you may, by governance and stewardship, enable responsible management by all your data citizens.
“'Make them think. Tell them what's got to be done, and let them work out how.” Terry Pratchett, Nation
To use with our real life metaphor, we (well, most of us anyway) do not need a cop to tell us every 5 minutes not to steal. We just don’t, because we were educated, because we do not need to, and because we understand what is at stake. The right balance of governance and enforcement turns us into good citizens.
A last point before we close this blog series.
In real life, we can send feedback to our governance bodies to tell them what works or not, and they sometimes listen to us. Seeing that someone up there is listening is critical to understanding and accepting governance decisions.
In the data world, comments, complaints, metrics, ideas, etc, should flow back from the crowd of data citizens and stewards to the data governance bodies, who should adjust the governance directions and decisions to the reality of of the field. When this circle is in place, you truly enable shared and Collaborative Data Governance.
Data governance, stewardship and management follow similar principles as the real world. They should aim at working exactly the same way, or even better.
Navigate the series:
Take a look at how Semarchy enables Collaborative Data Governance