Technology & Operations
BWF Services: Risk Management and Due Diligence, Technology Services

The power to fully leverage data governance is found in the collective. Building crucial natural partnerships is essential in developing a successful data governance program.

However, these key alliances are often overlooked for various reasons—sometimes for the sake of speed or a lack of foresight, while at other times they are entirely omitted due to cultural challenges and heavily cemented institutional silos.

Many organizations make well-intentioned attempts to improve data governance efforts, expecting that these efforts will bring about meaningful change in how they manage and leverage their data. However, organizations are often left discouraged when their efforts lose momentum or fail when the necessary levels of support, resources, or programmatic influence are not achieved. Meaningful change to an organization’s data governance cannot happen in a vacuum. Data governance programs must be fueled by cross-functional collaboration in order to holistically evaluate a wide variety of complex business problems and succeed in developing intentional, comprehensive solutions.

Cultural landscapes are frequently a challenging aspect of investing in a large undertaking, such as developing and implementing a system of data governance. Every organization has its own nuances that vary greatly across departments and units, with myriad personalities and beliefs to navigate during projects and initiatives. The cultural environment and relationships across an organization are vital components that can greatly contribute to overall data governance program success or can potentially undermine its implementation and adoption. Organizations that strategically invest in developing natural partners (i.e., central information technology, data services) are setting themselves up for success by creating allies in the pursuit of project goals. By taking a collaborative approach and leveraging all available internal resources, organizations can ultimately reap numerous benefits and create a ripple effect that leads to improved cohesion, better communication, and an elevated way of collaborating overall.

Key Factors in Data Governance Success

Organizations that pursue natural partnerships and approach data governance as a shared responsibility often find that their efforts allow them to uncover common areas of need and shared challenges that are facing a vast array of teams and units across the enterprise. By identifying these areas, organizations can make informed strategic plans and prioritize their efforts to create a holistic approach to data governance.

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” —Henry Ford

It is important that organizations invest in cultivating these important natural partnerships. Several factors will help organizations bridge the gaps between fundraising and key support areas to realize a more robust and cohesive program of data governance.

  • Develop an Inclusive Data Governance Program Structure: Ensure the data governance committee includes representation from leadership, key stakeholders, and subject matter experts (SME) from all departments and business units across the enterprise. Promote the organization’s commitment to an egalitarian and cross-functional approach by incorporating this charge into the guiding charter of the data governance program.
  • Create a Memo of Understanding (MOU): Creating an MOU, a formalized agreement, between Development and Information Technology is an opportunity to ratify an agreed-upon set of protocols and collaboration frameworks for interdependent responsibilities, shared decision-making, and approval and workflow processes that help to establish and strengthen this critical partnership.
  • Establish Shared Goals and Metrics: Develop and implement shared goals and metrics across the program and its associated projects to foster increased accountability while empowering enhanced cohesion and collaboration. Aligning common goals will help promote overall effectiveness by creating a collective vision for success.
  • Enable Collaborative Communication and Feedback: A seamless communication channel between IT and fundraising partners facilitates collaboration while supporting streamlined decision-making and fostering continuous improvement in developing data governance solutions that support fundraising efforts. Ensure that this ongoing collaboration provides the opportunity for both areas to align needs and resources, offer input on areas for improvement, and foster enhanced issue resolution.
  • Leverage Shared Technology: As collaborative technology becomes more prevalent, there is a growing necessity to utilize shared platforms to foster cross-functional communication, dismantle operational barriers, and enhance efficiency. Encourage the use of collaborative tools and platforms that enable seamless information exchange and joint project management.

In Conclusion

While the path to cultivating natural partnerships in data governance programs requires significant effort, the tremendous benefits that can be realized from doing so are well worth the investment. This strategic alignment will not only enhance efficiency and promote optimal outcomes, but also foster a collaborative culture that will help propel the organization forward in a dynamic landscape of technology innovation and fundraising success.