Data Governance in the driving seat for transformation

There are two topics grabbing my attention at the moment: the explosion of interest in “digital transformation” and data governance.

Where did the phrase “digital transformation” spring from? Why has it overtaken every other buzzword this year, and how does it differ from what we were doing previously? Perhaps this is subject for another blog post!

Google trend data showing use of the phrase “Data Transformation” over the past few years


In my view, digital transformation is about:

  • Moving to service excellence with a true omni-channel approach – with digital by default being the approach, regardless of the platform a customer is using
  • Knowing one’s customer and ensuring their needs are central to everything you do is key
  • Adapting our businesses for the customer centric times we live in today. Doing this is common sense and a 101 lesson in marketing and customer experience
  • Our customers wanting to consume services and buy products at a time that suits them, using their nearest digital device to enjoy an “on demand”, intuitive and frictionless experience

The real shift we are noticing here is how and when our customers expect to interact with a business which, in turn, is putting pressure on businesses and governments to change how they provide services to consumers.  I don’t believe that these changed demands are met simply through involving internal CX or UX teams alone – it needs to be pervasive change across an organisation.

So where does data governance come into all of this? For me, the link between digital transformation and data governance is that to really understand a customer and build the products or services they enjoy engaging with, requires solid analytics and decision making. To ensure decisions made on analytics are right, they must be based on reliable, consistent, and repeatable data. To achieve this level of confidence in the data and to use it meaningfully, pushes the need for data governance. When an organisation’s people, processes and data are aligned through an effective data governance strategy there is clarity and confidence in the data produced which informs the decisions made within the organisation.

Think about it: if a business doesn’t have an accurate view of its customer, how can it tailor offerings to them? How does it resolve customer support issues quickly if it doesn’t have accurate information on the products that the customer owns? From the businesses perspective, investing time in resolving customer issues when, for example, the support function is unaware that the customer’s support has lapsed or they’re on the bad debtors list, wastes time and resources. A robust data governance framework, backed up with the right tools and empowered people, is critical to ensure these challenges are met and by realising the value of the data within the organisation enables the business to delight their customers.

The core components for running a data governance programme

Most enterprises approach data governance from the point of view of getting the right policies and definitions in place so that the data is complete, accurate and – above all – consistent. Typically, they decide they need to act, form a programme / project board, choose to purchase a product and then initiate their programme of work. However, there are many challenges in running a programme of this nature and I believe it is built around three core components: the right processes, the right technology and, most importantly, the right people. From the CTO’s vision down to the Data Steward’s approach, it is all about ensuring the right people are engaged and bought into the data governance strategy and policies -the product is only part of the equation.

And we practice what we preach – delivering digital transformation programmes and underpinning them with the right data governance to ensure our customers enjoy an excellent experience is what we do in Sopra Steria.

I shall be speaking at the Master Data Management and Data Governance Summit in London on the 18th of May discussing our experiences delivering such programmes for our customers.

Go Governance. Go Early!

Published by

Dermot Boyle

I am a Delivery Manager for Sopra Steria in Northern Ireland working with our Public Sector customers. My specialisms are in Applications Management, Data Governance and Master Data Management.

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