Application Transformation

Creating Cultural Change With Data Governance

By Rachel Haines April 23, 2012

Implementing a Data Governance (DG) program is all about changing the culture of the enterprise. Data Governance uses principles of accountability, integrity, and transparency to tear down silos and build trust in the data, trust that the business needs of individuals are met, and trust that top quality data is being used to make the decisions which affect the very success or failure of the business.

Perhaps the single most effective strategy for the Data Governance Office (DGO) to effect this cultural change is to seek opportunities to embed DG into the organizations software development lifecycle (SDLC).

Presumably, the organization is already gathering requirements, designing, building, testing, and deploying applications and systems using a defined SDLC methodology. Rather than being a burdensome addition to the SDLC, embedding data governance techniques into the SDLC can actually improve development results (fewer errors, less rework, more business satisfaction) while greatly reducing the ongoing costs associated with application maintenance.


For example, by agreeing, up front, to a standard definition and context for the terms used by the Business, the development team can avoid “oh, I thought you meant…” mistakes. Similarly, by clearly documenting the business rules for data creation and usage, applications can be built (or configured) to avoid dirty data being written to the database.

These same definitions for business terms and business rules can accelerate the understanding of the maintenance team when diagnosing and fixing those same applications a year or 2 down the road.

Embedding just-enough Data Governance into the SDLC will have the long-term effect of changing the culture and moving the organization toward achieving data accountability, integrity, and transparency.


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