5 reasons to leverage data governance maturity model

Data governance maturity models are a favorite topic and a highly sought after online course here on LightsOnData. Why is that? The short answer is that a data governance maturity model is a sought after tool as it brings quite a few benefits which could be placed in the following 5 buckets:

1. Regulation

Sometimes there might be a regulatory oversight that requires a minimum level of maturity in data governance. To be fair, that a regulatory body won’t point to your organization and say “it needs to be at level 4 or else you will be fined”. No it won’t, but in order to comply with certain regulations you need to have certain policies and procedures in place, organization-wide awareness and education on certain data privacy and security issues, you might need to have certain data classified, have established ownership over data domains and systems and so on and the model can give you the pathway or the gaps you need to address in order to get there, to get to that required maturity.

2. Organizational change

How many company acquisitions and mergers go through a data governance maturity assessment? Not enough. Why? Because these mergers and acquisition present quite a few data governance and management challenges. One needs to know, preferably as soon as possible, what these challenges are and how they can be addressed. That’s why it’s good to employ a data governance maturity model assessment for both organizations and see how they stack up against each other.

Perhaps there is something that your company needs to improve or learn from the other company or the other way around.  Either way, you want to align them and keep track of those challenges and risks that you might run into once you start combining the data and the data management environment.

3. Benchmark

There might be a reason that you want to benchmark parts of the data governance or data management program against different units and locations. Especially if the company is a multi-national. By definition it would have a presence in multiple countries or even a presence in the same country, but in multiple locations. But its data governance and data management program is localized, with potential differences in maturity between them. In those cases you would want to benchmark these different instances against each other to understand which ones are leading and which ones are lagging in their data governance and data management practices.

Even for a mid-tier organization, if it is following a decentralized operating model, there will also be different data governance program pieces that would need to be benchmarked against each other for the same reasons as those stated above.

Lastly, there’s benchmark capabilities against peer organizations. This may allow further rationalization of acquiring tools, skills or organizational roles. If you see that you are at a lower level than your competitor or what the average is for that industry, this can provide you with a good business case to gain more support from upper-management to invest in data management and data governance programs.

If you’d like to learn all there is to know about Data Governance Maturity Models and best practices, please check-out this ~3 hr Data Governance Maturity Model(s) online course available to you right now.

4. Strategy

Even though the maturity model doesn’t provide a plan, provides the necessary insights to build an actionable strategic plan that is grounded in understanding the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, while following best practices. It also helps prioritize the parts of the data management or data governance programs that should be tackled first. At times, improving or even starting a data governance program might seem like you need to boil the ocean. There are a lot of areas to address, a lot of fires to put out, and a lot of possibilities on where you can start building and improving. The maturity model can provide you with a direction on how to get from one level, to the next. It feeds into your strategy for kick-starting a data governance program or for improving the already in place.

5. Communication

As you can extrapolate from the above benefits, the data governance maturity model can be a good good tool to track progress, but also communicating it. It can help the data governance lead generate a view of historical progress and a way to showcase achievements & progression. As I continuously state in my articles and videos, communication is key to the success and adoption of a data governance program. Any tool that can aid it is welcomed and a data governance maturity model definitely brings in that aid.



So these are the reasons and benefits of leveraging a data governance maturity model. What else would you add? Did you use one before? Are you planning on using one? Regardless, it never hurts to learn more about them.


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About the author 

George Firican

George Firican is the Director of Data Governance and Business Intelligence at the University of British Columbia, which is ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world. His passion for data led him towards award-winning program implementations in the data governance, data quality, and business intelligence fields. Due to his desire for continuous improvement and knowledge sharing, he founded LightsOnData, a website which offers free templates, definitions, best practices, articles and other useful resources to help with data governance and data management questions and challenges. He also has over twelve years of project management and business/technical analysis experience in the higher education, fundraising, software and web development, and e-commerce industries.

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