Data Intelligence is Change for the Better

Data Intelligence is Change for the Better

A data intelligence or data governance initiative at an organization involves change and is not easy to perform. Acknowledge that change is difficult. You understand that it is complex to implement but you want to keep it as simple as possible. You understand that there will be time savings and better decision making as the data intelligence initiative is implemented. Data intelligence will make your organization better. In this blog post we share some thoughts about implementing a data intelligence or data governance initiative at your organization so that it is successful.


Implementation means change. And this change needs to be managed. Change helps solve business issues by aligning people and processes to strategic initiatives that will help an organization achieve its business vision.  A data intelligence implementation involves changing data-related culture, processes, policies, and roles. It means asking people to change the way they think and behave about how data is accessed and used.

Humans are often resistant to change. It involves going into unfamiliar areas and changes to their job function. People often feel overloaded with current responsibilities and do not believe they can cope with anything new that comes from a new initiative. And people are often skeptical about initiatives if previous attempts have failed. For change to happen you need buy-in from management and others to achieve the organization's goal of an orderly and effective transformation.

Keep in mind that there are two sides to a new initiative. The business (situational) side which focuses on the who, what, when, where, and why side of the initiative. And there is the psychological (people) side which addresses the reorientation people must go through as they come to terms with their new situation due to the initiative. People must let go of the old situation before getting comfortable with the new situation. People adapt to change at different speeds, and this rarely aligns with the organization’s timeframe.

Here are some thoughts on implementing a data intelligence or data governance initiative at your organization so that there are positive results:

  1. Start with Why and Remember - "Begin with the end in mind" when implementing data intelligence. Stay true to the original goals of the initiative as much as possible and avoid tangents (or scope creep). Those working at an organization must know why certain tasks are necessary. Identify the “pain point” or problem area in your organization that is driving the need for this initiative. From the problems (such as a data quality issue or lack of data request system), create small controllable tasks that will solve these problems. Be clear on why you are doing this and communicate that why.
  2. Just a Few Tasks - Focus on selecting not just the right tasks but also the right number of tasks. You cannot do everything at once. A data intelligence initiative involves many tasks in many areas and takes a long time. Keep the tasks as simple as possible. Keep in mind that unexpected situations arise that will require time and resources.
  3. Engagement – Engaging staff in conversations about the data intelligence initiative enables them to understand more about the change. Engaging them in supporting what must be adapted within the organization such as process changes enables them to take control of their work. Enabling their involvement, especially when it directly impacts them and how they work, increases support for the change.
  4. Train Data Stewards – Use the “train the trainers” approach in implementing data governance and in this case that group are the data stewards. These are the folks that the data users will go to when there are issues with data or requests for data. It is important that the training be easy for staff to access. The data stewards and others in the organization must know how to change. Knowing why you must change is not enough.
  5. Acquiring Buy-in – As with any initiative, data governance and data intelligence needs buy-in from a variety of individuals including support from leaders or upper management for the initiative to succeed and get the resources it needs. And the organization’s staff must have the motivation and desire to participate in the changes that the initiative will bring. Data stewards are a critical component in the initiative’s success and must be included in the buy-in.
  6. Smart Communication – You want to get the right information about your data to the right people at the right time. Remember that you have different stakeholders involved with the initiative (management, data consumers and data stewards) and each type probably should have different communication content. Do not over communicate about the initiative. Use different communication channels to keep the necessary people informed. Think of alternative ways to reach out to both enthusiastic and hesitant team members.
  7. Solicit Feedback – Demonstrate that you are listening. Solicit feedback regarding the initiative from your stakeholder types, and connect actions taken to the input you receive.

We hope that this blog post aids you in the success of your data governance or data intelligence initiative. The journey is not easy but will be beneficial.

IData has a solution, the Data Cookbook, that can aid the employees and the organization in its data governance, data intelligence, data stewardship and data quality initiatives. IData also has experts that can assist with data governance, reporting, integration and other technology services on an as needed basis. Feel free to contact us and let us know how we can assist.

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Jim Walery
About the Author

Jim Walery is a marketing professional who has been providing marketing services to technology companies for over 20 years and specifically those in higher education since 2010. Jim assists in getting the word out about the community via a variety of channels. Jim is knowledgeable in social media, blogging, collateral creation and website content. He is Inbound Marketing certified by HubSpot. Jim holds a B.A. from University of California, Irvine and a M.A. from Webster University. Jim can be reached at jwalery[at]

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