What will it take for firms to focus on data governance?

 I am about to set off on a road show around Australia and New Zealand with IBM concerning data growth and data management. I am giving a presentation on data/information governance - which continues to be top of mind for many folks within the IT department - but to date, the data governance efforts of many organisations across the two countries have been pretty limited...
 

This got me thinking - what will it take for ANZ businesses - and for that sake, businesses across the entire AP region - to start to take data governance seriously? With the massive explosions in data in all types of businesses and growing desire to NOT be one of the firms that has a serious data breach, I am always surprised by the fact that most businesses still do not have a formal data governance function. Yes - there is clearly a focus on cleansing data for business intelligence purposes, and on improving data quality - but with the burgeoning growth of data within systems - both structured and unstructured - few organisations have a future vision as to how they will manage that data going forward and continue to get further value from existing and new data sets.

Developing a business case for a data governance team or function seems to be the single biggest stumbling block - and on this point I am offering some detailed advice to attendees at the sessions - but the simple solution is that any business case must be based in a line-of-business or function - trying to start with an enterprise view for many organizations is a typical recipe for disaster. Targeted obvious business pain is a good place to start. We find the following scenarios a good place to start to get wins for strog data governance practices:
  • Reducing inefficiencies in the call center
  • Reducing wasted direct marketing costs
  • Reducing breakdowns in supply chain
  • Increasing revenue through improved targeted marketing
  • Reducing risk of privacy/security non-compliance
So what is your business doing with its data or information governance strategy? If you are coming along to the events feel free to ask questions or add your story to the mix - companies want to hear from their peers - so I will be giving the chance for organisations to add their story during my presentations. If you can't make it feel free to add your thoughts below or e-mail me directly here.

UPDATE: 1:42pm Sydney time, on 22nd February 2010: In order to allow for full disclosure, IBM is paying Forrester to present at these events - but to ease your mind, the presentation I am giving is completely objective and impartial - in fact it has been given before to broad audiences across the world, and much of it has been available to Forrester clients as a teleconference since June last year.