Data Governance (As We Know It) Is Dead

Community Blog
Written by Jason Larson

NOVEMBER 17, 2020

CDOs from the world’s leading organizations met virtually over the past six months to discuss data needs and business continuity amidst the evolving challenges of 2020. Data and analytics leaders and their teams have been integral in providing information and insights influencing business responses and adjustments to the crisis. 

2020 has been a transformative year for many organizations. In order to ensure companies remain compliant and focused on evolving regulations, governance programs have become more important than ever. Data leaders are taking steps to modernize their governance frameworks to thrive in a digital business environment. 

In the words of one CDO below, data governance as we know it is dead. Gone are the days of “command-and-control.” Rather, agility and flexibility are key cornerstones to forward-looking governance programs. As these new frameworks take shape, leading CDOs are exploring how governance programs can actually speed up decision-making and data-driven insights – or even innovation.

One key theme that has emerged in recent discussions is the state of data governance in today’s digital-first business environment. Here’s what data and analytics leaders across Evanta’s communities had to say:

Community Voices

We all have stories of something unusual happening because we didn’t understand the lineage between systems. But that’s why it’s so important in governance to build those things like lineages. The biggest successes we’re having in using a data lineage tool is going into an engineering meeting and being able to help leaders understand how changes to an API would impact downstream systems.

Mike Burkes
Southern California CDO Community

I don’t think any organization can claim to be mature in their data governance practices. Data governance is an evolving journey. It is not something that is a good-to-have for organizations; this is a must-have to remain in business.

Sriram Iyer
Minneapolis CDO Community

Data governance as we know it is dead. It was a report-driven data governance of the past. The end goal was to have the reports that executives will see and regulators will check. Now, what we call it is data value management.

Sravan Kasarla
Minneapolis CDO Community

You have to think about technology, the process and the people; and in order to have a durable solution, you have to orchestrate all three of those levers in a way that allows you to execute within your reality, within your company’s reality, the best way possible.

Laté Lawson
Chicago CDO Community

I like to give the example of crawl, walk, run. In our organization, I would say we have been walking for a while. It seems like every time you feel you are getting to a point where you can start running, there’s a new acquisition, merger, or partnership which puts you back. There isn’t necessarily a point ever where you reach a ‘state of nirvana,’ but having a solid foundation in place and focusing on the analytics side of MDM first, and then the operational side, you can help show quick value to the organization.

Harinder Singh
San Francisco CDO Community

Jason Larson headshot

Jason Larson

Director, Content at Evanta, a Gartner Company

To view more community insights related to the data governance, check out this excellent Voice of the CDO community piece on "Modernizing Data Governance."

by CDOs, for CDOs

Join the conversation with peers in your local CDO community.