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Building a Business Case for Data Governance: Here’s how

Authors Photo Precisely Editor | November 17, 2022

There’s no denying data is a valuable organizational asset. It represents the key to business development and organizational success. If an organization isn’t analyzing data to enhance business processes, uncover customer insights and identify competitive opportunities, they have almost no chance to remain competitive.  Building a data governance business case is the key.

While all businesses are eager to leverage data in a meaningful way, they first need a solid data governance foundation. As companies collect data from numerous sources, they must ensure it is accurate and reliable. They must also confirm business users understand where that data is located, where it originated and how it applies to the business. Data governance is the strategy that organizes people, processes and technology to establish trustworthy, easily understandable data.

Over the last decade, many organizations struggled operationalizing data governance because of siloed approaches, competing priorities and lack of resources. But now, a major shift has evolved and more organizations are increasing their investment into an enterprise-wide approach to data governance to ensure high-quality, well-managed information. It’s also critical to decision-making, innovating, and modernizing.

Bringing the value of data governance to the enterprise is imperative. Without an enterprise-wide data governance approach organizations will fail to capitalize on countless business opportunities and suffer short- and long-term consequences.

Data governance business case

So why hasn’t every business established an overarching data governance program?

Obstacles and How to Solve Them

 One of the biggest roadblocks to data governance is gaining buy-in. Not only approval from the executive team but garnering support from functional team across the organization.

Successful data governance requires participation from individuals across every department – from sales and marketing to IT and operations. Everyone must contribute to make governance successful and maximize data’s value.

The best way to encourage program participation is by tying governance to revenue-driven initiatives. Governance requires business-driven and quality-focused strategies to achieve business objectives and deliver ROI.

That’s why generating enterprise support and excitement to secure a budget for governance requires a well-crafted business case.

Read our eBook

Building a Data Governance Use Case to Get Budget and Buy-in

Read our eBook and learn how you can generate support, secure budget, and gather momentum to build a data governance framework.

Developing a Business Case to Foster Data Governance Support

A compelling business case outlines why data governance is a top priority and addresses the organization’s challenges and solutions. For example, perhaps the organization is facing a slew of regulatory hurdles. If so, the business case should outline how governance will streamline regulatory reporting for the compliance team and eliminate costly regulatory penalties.

Maybe the company is struggling to centralize data from disparate data systems. The business case would cover how governance helps ensure confidence in investment placed on consolidating systems or migrating to a cloud environment. Or, it could be that the IT team spends more time fixing data quality issues than running analytics. The business case would focus on how governance proactively solves data quality issues for the most impactful data, saving IT time and money.

Identify Business Goals and Objectives

The business case must also include input from diverging business lines about their data difficulties. Identifying the metrics around goals and objectives of all data users, and how data governance will benefit them is critical to gain buy-in from your data team.

Once the benefits of data governance are understood and input generated across the organization, the next step is to outline how best to execute the business case.

Building a Plan

Data governance is most successful when an enterprise-wide strategy and well-understood and well-established processes that everyone can follow. To do this, organizations need a data governance team to create a program that accounts for everyone’s needs.

A successful data governance team starts with support from the leadership team. Typically, a chief data officer (CDO) leads governance efforts and works with a centralized or federated team, made up of leaders from various departments like marketing, HR, operations and IT. Identifying data owners, stewards, and data users become a critical part of ongoing data governance management.

Together, the governance team creates and manages processes for resolving data quality issues, tracking compliance, documenting data lineage, ingesting metadata, building data catalogs, analytical reporting and more. All procedures must be repeatable and easy to execute for both the IT and business teams.

Furthermore, the business case should list all expected outcomes. For example:

  • Easily understandable data terms across the entire company.
  • Improved data trust among business users.
  • Enhanced end-to-end data quality.
  • Clearly defined data lineage from both a business and technical standpoint.
  • Increased data usage among business users, generating additional ROI.
  • Verified data behind all business decisions.
  • Fast and easy proof of regulatory compliance.

In the end, outlining expected outcomes in the data governance business case demonstrates its value across the enterprise and boosts executive buy-in for the necessary funding and resources.

Once the data governance team selects the appropriate technologies to accompany their data governance strategy, it’s time to work on making data consistent, improving data’s quality and impacting the bottom line.

Read our eBook Building a Data Governance Use Case to Get Budget and Buy-in and learn how you can generate support, secure budget, and gather momentum to build a data governance framework.