Executive Sponsor

Master Data Management Best Practice #2 – Active, Involved Executive Sponsorship

MDM and data governance projects need strong executive sponsorship, more so than most projects involving technology.

To champion a change (towards managing master data as a true corporate asset) is going to mean significant cultural disruption. In most companies, that type of change is best driven “top down”.

Don’t try to start until this is in place. Work on your elevator pitch, reach out to senior management and educate them on master data management, and work on recruiting your executive sponsors.

MDM and data governance programs are typically not very successful from the “bottom up”. They may start that way, and even show a few small wins, but you’ve got to get the “C suite” interested and engaged at some point in order to get the budget money and the political “juice” you’ll need.

Don’t forget that data governance is largely a political function. I’ve always liked Jill Dyche’s definition of data governance: “Data governance is the decision-rights and policymaking for corporate data, while data management is the tactical execution of those policies.”

When you see the word “decision rights” and “policymaking” next to the words “corporate data”, you know that you’re dealing with an area that is more political than technological. But we need to embrace that, for that is the reality of data governance (or as my friends at Evaxyx in the UK like to call it, “data government”).

And if you think that anything in the enterprise can succeed that is so strongly political without the explicit and continuing support of senior management, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn that I’m dying to sell you.

Please let us know – in the comments here or in the forums on the MDM Community – what you think of the political nature of data governance and the need for active, involved executive sponsorship of MDM projects.

The next article in the series is: MDM Best Practice #3 – Emphasize the Organizational Change Management Aspects

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6 Comments on “Master Data Management Best Practice #2 – Active, Involved Executive Sponsorship”

  1. marc hurst 10/22/2010 at 1:27 pm #

    Agree it is highly political. Also the business must own data governance. Yet the sale is not so much an elevator pitch or executive level get together. Advocates must be prepared with framework, benefits, timelines rather than the preaching from a shaky pulpit.

    Enjoying and appreciating the series on MDM, very cool Dan!!!

    • Dan Power 10/22/2010 at 4:49 pm #

      Hi Marc,

      Good to see you here, and glad you’re enjoying the series. Here’s I’m not talking so much about making the sale but about starting the conversation – you’ve got to start building the relationship somewhere. So if a team doesn’t have executive sponsorship yet, which is common, they can start by getting to know the executives, then educating them, then moving on (as you say) to giving them the framework, benefits, timelines, etc.

      Best regards — Dan

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] is where the rubber really meets the road. You’ll see your previous efforts at getting executive sponsorship pay off here. This usually gets worked out behind closed doors, but you should have a proposal […]

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