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How to get senior execs to buy into a data governance plan

Learn how to get senior management to buy into data governance. Get tips on selling data governance policies and processes to executives who can approve data governance programs.

I’m having trouble getting senior management to buy into data governance. How should I angle a data governance...

plan to get them excited about something that’s more involved than just buying a tool or some software?

We should probably differentiate between getting senior management excited about data governance and getting them to buy into it. If senior management isn’t excited about governance to begin with, I can’t imagine that there are too many things that can be done to get them to that point.

However, if you can establish the value proposition of data governance, that might lead to enough management support to initiate the process. And that means identifying where the organization’s strategic objectives aren’t being effectively supported due to deficiencies in the available data, confirming the negative business impact using some clearly defined metrics, and succinctly communicating the gap to those senior managers who are in a position to contribute or approve resources to address the problems.

The approach that we like to take is practical: If operational data governance would contribute to improving the bottom line, it would be difficult to say no to it. On the other hand, if the data governance program is being described in a way that makes it look like a lot of overhead with few concrete results, you might want to rethink your approach.

This was last published in February 2011

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