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Adoption challenges can lead the data governance team on a very long, bumpy, and not very enjoyable ride. Adoption may be the most challenging problem we must solve for the longer-term success of our data governance programs. It is a complex issue given that no two organizations may have the same barriers inhibiting adoption. What is easy for one organization may be impossible to achieve for another.
We are all aware of the need to define our data governance terminology, so let’s start there. What we mean by adoption does not fit the academic or literal dictionary definition which is to correct, or modify, or refit, or transform, or even makeover. Let’s consider the definition of adoption from the outcome we desire to drive. Effectively the outcome of adoption means to have all the right people in the organization, leveraging the right processes on the right data, at the right time using the right technology. We’ve all heard that mantra, right?
The simple definition of adoption for most organizations is as follows: to have another team of business and technical resources follow the governance processes established, using the supporting governance technologies we have established. This allows us to look at adoption as an expansion of the governance program either:
As if implementations were only that simple.
I don’t mean to suggest that data governance adoption is just a “people problem.” It’s not. The challenges facing most organizations include:
Solutions to our adoption challenges start with the data governance strategy, or publishing data principles and building a data governance organization that includes executives and leadership from all lines of business. Communicating the organization about the data governance program early, and often, can help to overcome many of the barriers inhibiting adoption. Data governance adoption can be made easier through communications, education, and promotion of the governance program. We have found that adoption is more successful for the organizations that actively communicate, educate, and promote the data governance program. Those are actions that many data governance teams do not do often enough.
Many data governance programs start with a very limited exposure in the organization. While this can have positive considerations, it can often be the root cause of our adoption challenges. It is recommended that we assess the barriers we have in our organization as a first step in determining solutions specific to the challenges we face.
It is common that we can classify the adoption barriers and act on solutions to three areas as follows:
Data governance adoption solutions vary depending upon the governance maturity and culture of the organization, the business use cases behind the implementation efforts, and the desire of the organizational cultural change. Finding great champions in the business or partner IT teams will provide significant benefit for adoption. Having someone outside of the data governance team discuss the value and benefits of governance will be your best ally in the war against adoption challenges. Please recognize the importance of communications, education and promotion of the data governance program. As always stay calm and allow you governance program to prosper.
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