Different Approaches to Data Governance

Different Approaches to Data Governance

StockSnap_0TZONVQ7CN_DGApproachWalkway_BP.jpgThere are many ways to approach data governance in higher education. This post lists the primary approaches and provides a list of items to consider when selecting the best approach for your institution.

The three primary approaches to data governance are:

  1. Top-Down Approach - Initiative by edict
  2. Bottom-Up Approach - Rogue – Lead by example
  3. Hybrid Approach Bottom-up with cover from the top

Which approach would work for you? It depends.

  • What is your institution’s culture and urgency?  Have you recently received a negative or embarrassing audit?  Top-down could work.  Are upper-level managers distracted or in flux?  Focus on bottom-up.  Is there good awareness but no one knows how to get started?  Go hybrid.  Start small with pilot projects and ask upper managers to tout these successes.
  • What is your institution’s size and organizational structure?  In our experience, small and medium sized institutions are equally split among the three approaches.  Large institutions tend to be top-down.
  • Is your institution focused on data security or data knowledge? Security-conscioused institutions tend to start top-down, while data knowledge focussed schools tend to start bottom-up.

When determining what approach would work for your institution, take a practical approach and realize that:

  • It is more of a people issue than a technology issue
  • You need people to implement data governance
  • People are busy
  • People resist change
  • People have a hard time seeing long-term benefits over short-term time savings
  • People need a reason to do something
  • People work better with real-world outcomes
  • If this does not help people deliver on their job responsibilities, then they will not do it
  • Be careful of incentives, they work

Our experience has found that a hybrid approach works best.

If you need help in implementing data governance remember that IData provides data governance services.  A data governance solution like the Data Cookbook is a tremendous help in successful implementation of data governance at a higher education institution.  Feel free to Contact Us.

(image credit  StockSnap_0TZONVQ7CN_DGApproachWalkway_BP  #1019)

Brenda Reeb
About the Author

Brenda is a consultant in data management, data governance, and the information needs of users. She has over 20 years' experience providing services and solutions in higher education. Brenda has designed and implemented data management policies, established workflows, and created metadata. She is an experienced advocate for data management at all levels of an organization.

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