Data Governance: The Enterprise Equivalent of 'The Cheese Touch'?

Loraine Lawson

A recent TechTarget article about MDM best practices had this little anecdote buried about one third of the way into the story:

Slide Show

Five Tips for Easier Data Governance

Five steps you can take to ease the trauma of starting data governance.

B. J. Flowers is the director of enterprise information delivery for TXU Energy, a retail electricity provider in Dallas. Her company hasn't found anyone who wants to manage data. It comes down to governance, and no one wants to do governance,' Flowers said. There's no role for that. We tried to do it. It's not sexy.'

Here I was, all set to write a nice wrap-up about recent MDM best practices pronouncements (TDWI's new report also covers this topic), when I stumble upon that little item. And it just stops me cold, because, honestly, how can you really talk about better MDM in a world where that's the reality IT leaders face?


No one wants to do governance; it's not sexy.


We shouldn't be surprised that it's that bad for some companies. After all, data governance is a whole lot of responsibility, with very little executive interest (or sponsorship) and reward for the person leading it.


And the payoff doesn't come in a direct way. When it comes, it'll probably be on someone else's project, under another title altogether, using a BI tool.


I've tackled this topic before and I've been warned by various experts and analysts not to get too cynical. Data governance is more popular than it once was and is receiving more executive attention than ever, I was told in 2010.


But seeing something like that makes me wonder what they meant. I mean, is it like "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" - where "more popular" just means you've passed along the cheese touch ?


Frankly, reading comments like Flowers makes me wonder if data governance is, in fact, the cheese.


Data governance may be one of those dirty things that <em>should</em> belong to the business, but will probably wind up in IT's lap for at least the near term. Why? Because somebody has to, even if it's not cool. Because IT understands (or should understand) why it matters. And, let's face it, because IT takes the fall for bad data too often.

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