Four Keys to Successful Telecom Data Governance Strategies
Gartner reports that 80% of data governance initiatives fail to deliver on their expected outcomes. Harvard Business Review has found that over 65% of the target users for data governance initiatives do not sufficiently understand how those programs impact their roles within the organization. Finally, according to Forbes, over 74% of data leaders struggle to calculate the return on the investment of their data governance projects. Those are sobering statistics that all point to a common root cause: If you don’t understand why your organization might need telecom data governance, then you probably won’t reap the full benefits of it.
Successful telecom data governance programs are built upon four key pillars.
- Link business objectives to the data governance initiative.
- Prioritize the data sets to be governed, based on the business value they provide.
- Engage and communicate value to strategic, operational, and tactical teams
- Leverage cultural engagement processes and people to reinforce data governance value on a day-to-day basis.
Let’s look at each of these in further detail.
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1. Link Data Governance to Business Goals
The first and most important key to success is clearly understanding and linking the business goals within your governance framework. Without visibility into the business objectives, day-to-day governance becomes just another responsibility without real value to the users. Mapping data assets to the value governance delivers keeps IT and business users aligned around the goals that actually impact their performance.
Within Telco, we generally see three broad categories that drive data governance programs . First, consider some of the key business objectives that drive a telecommunications organization around minimizing risk. Reporting and compliance are critical, for example, ensuring that FCC coverage requirements are being met. Safety and RDOF reporting, risk and fraud, and internal management reports are likewise essential to running a profitable telecommunications business.
Secondly, as data is playing an increasingly important role in data-driven analytics and business insights, another key category for most businesses is to ensure that the information driving key decisions is understood, accurate, consistent, complete, and suitable to the purpose for which it is being used. For telcos, data is providing valuable insights for network buildout and 5G planning, for example. The leaders of customer retention and revenue enhancement programs use analytics to build out a 360° view of their customers and inform decisions about new product offerings, pricing, marketing programs, and more.
Finally, data plays a critical role in supporting overall operational excellence with accurate information about working capital, M&A opportunities, operating expenses, and more. In the telecommunications industry, there is real pressure to optimize the data needed to run the business.
Another major advantage is that mapping goals to specific data assets brings into sharper focus data that impacts multiple business objectives. For instance, in our previous examples, data that is impacted by data privacy policies is critical to building a 360° view of a customer, and that is also integral to improving customer care.
2. Prioritize the Data Sets to be Governed
Focus matters for data governance. Some data sets are more important than others. In fact, approximately 5% of datasets drive 95% of an organization’s critical business results. Successful telecom data governance initiatives prioritize the datasets that matter most.
In the early stages of any data governance initiative, it’s necessary to discover and catalog the various sources of information spread across the enterprise. For telcos, core data may include subscriber master data and billing information, network capacity and usage, demographic and geospatial information about the service area in which the company operates, and so on. By prioritizing information based on its value to the organization, data governance leaders can ensure that their time and effort are applied toward optimal results.
Understanding the relationships between data assets and multiple business goals and objectives also enables organizations to identify projects that will show quick, high-value wins to jumpstart your governance programs.
3. Build Engagement Across Teams
The next step is to build support within your organization by making a strong case for your telecom data governance initiative. This is about bridging the gap between business users and IT systems. That often means speaking to three different “levels” of your organization: strategic decision makers (i.e. executive management), operational leaders whose job it is to grow the business, and tactical users who tend to work directly with the data from a tactical perspective. This last group includes data scientists, data engineers, and migration specialists, for example.
Each of these audiences has a unique view as to what constitutes business value. For strategic decision makers, it’s driven by an ROI perspective. For the middle tier, it’s operational excellence; in other words, will it result in performance improvements? Tactical-level operators may be most interested in the efficiency and effectiveness with which they can perform their jobs.
Speaking to all three of these audiences in terms that resonate with them, you can begin to build momentum around your telco data governance program.
4. Embed Data Governance Throughout your Organization
This last step is about making data governance an integral part of the business processes and thought processes that drive behavior. Personalized onboarding programs, for example, create an intimate sense of familiarity with the goals, methods, and intended outcomes of your data governance program. Intensive training sessions or “governance boot camps” align team members around what will happen, how they will benefit, and how they can contribute to a successful outcome.
Leadership endorsements are also a key element of success. When top managers communicate their support for your telco data governance program, they pave the way for a smoother rollout and wider adoption. It can also be helpful to engage data governance “ambassadors” or champions within each affected department to help users understand the benefits and encourage them to embrace tools and practices that will move your data governance program forward.
Some companies have used gamification to build momentum for their data governance programs, engaging users with online scavenger hunts, for example. Others have produced informative and entertaining “explainer” videos.
Precisely has helped leading companies around the world deliver successful data governance programs that increase value. By following this four-step framework, telecommunications companies can increase the effectiveness of the success of their data governance processes. To learn more, watch our free on-demand webcast, Telco Data Governance Strategies: Four Keys to Success.