Help Desk Approach to Data Governance

Help Desk Approach to Data Governance

StockSnap_6GSBTGHP2I_HelpDesk_BPThink about data governance like you do about tech support or a help desk (ticketing) system, which is something that most of you are very familiar with. In this blog post we will discuss how they are similar.

Here’s a quick story. A tech support team for a company had a big backlog in calls. And they had a big initiative to close more calls per day, and to kill that backlog. And they did as they greatly improved the number of calls closed in a day. But the backlog did not go down which caused frustration. But then the manager said, "Don't worry about the backlog. That was a problem before when there was one call a day. But with 90 calls a day, having 90 calls in the backlog is good, too." The point was that if you are responding and helping people and they are finding what they need, more people will engage with that content. The reality was that the word got out that if you called tech support and had an issue that you would get an answer.  So more people were calling. And that was a positive thing. The backlog number stayed high because people were using it. The value to the organization increased.

An example: I am a new employee. I am working remotely. I cannot connect to the VPN to access my files or the shared drive. I know that there is a help desk application. I login into the application, and I search for information on how to get my VPN to work. I find some documentation. The documentation told me how to get my VPN set up correctly. That is a positive engagement with a preexisting content.

But nobody expects a help desk system to anticipate and have an answer to every possible problem anyone is ever going to have.  We have a knowledge base of previously asked questions, but I have a problem where there is not an existing document explaining how to fix it. I can submit a ticket saying I could not find a solution online, could someone help me? That is going to get routed to the right help desk person who will get back to me and help me through this process. And if they help me through that process, hopefully they will create a document or knowledge base entry so that the next new employee who has the same problem can find that. That was a just-in-time effort to satisfy my issue and update the repository with new information.

That exact process can and should work with your data. You have a question about a report that is not documented. It is not curated. You are trying to get information on a data system that is not yet inventoried. If you cannot find it, you have a way to submit that request. Another problem people have is that they do not have the workflows in place. And you can think of this in the help desk world as the concept of second-tier support. When I called that first time, maybe I was not going to get routed to the exact right person who knew how to fix my VPN. Maybe instead, I am just going to get routed to the help desk's first tier support person who is a capable customer service person, has some general knowledge, but is not a subject matter expert. But what they do know is how to find that person in the company, at a second level, such as a developer, DBA, or a functional expert, who is pulled in to help answer my questions and to help them build that document or knowledge base entry.

We hope that this blog post takes some of the scariness out of data governance by comparing it to something you are familiar with, your help desk (ticketing) system. Data governance should have a customer service and just-in-time approach. When someone has a question or a request there should be a way to find the answer or get your request fulfilled. There should be a data governance knowledge base in place (such as the Data Cookbook) which can be updated with new requests.  Additional data governance resources (blog posts, videos, and recorded webinars) can be found at

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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Photo Credit: StockSnap_6GSBTGHP2I_HelpDesk_BP #B1225

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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