No matter how sophisticated the plane is, we trust the pilot to bring us safely to our destination. Don’t we? The same principle should apply to the management of your Product Master. No matter how good the technology, it is the people who will make data governance a success.
When selecting a partner in data management, do not underestimate the service element of their offering. Effective data governance and stewardship requires a cultural shift in the organisation that can only be nurtured through people. Technology has a key role to play but it is human interactions that will win the hearts and minds of the stakeholders and secure their buy-in. This is particularly true when data is coming from a wide range of sources with different attitudes towards data quality.
Your data quality management service provider should be focused solely on your industry. The better your service team understands your business and the business of your data sources, the sooner they will seamlessly integrate with your data supply chain and become part of the fabric of your organisation. This will generate trust and goodwill on the part of the data suppliers as they will see the data management service team as a partner that can help them improve the quality of their reporting. Knowing that the service team has an intimate understanding of their data will also generate respect and promote accountability on the provider side therefore driving them to achieve the data quality standards required by your organisation.
Managing processes and data provider relationships is only part of the value that you should seek from your service team. Management reporting is another area that will benefit from a strong service provider with a deep understanding of your industry. The technology will generate all kinds of statistics on the reporting cycle such as data timeliness achievement rate, number of validation rules applied to the data, number of exceptions raised by such rules, number of data points resubmitted, etc. These are of little value unless analysed by a team of experts that can deliver to you meaningful content and recommendations that will empower your business to improve data quality on an ongoing basis. Your service team should report on the performance of your data providers in all four dimensions of data quality: timeliness, completeness, consistency and accuracy. You should be provided with trends for each of these Key Performance Indicators, benchmarks that you can measure against and clear recommendations on how you can exploit further the technology to drive data quality.
Technology combined with Service Excellence that is focused on your industry is the right combination to bring your data governance programme safely to where you want it to be.