The definition of a data policy can be motivated by business dependencies that originate with corporate value drivers such as increased revenue generation, decreased expenses, reduction in operational risk, or improving the customer experience. However, these drivers remain theoretical until they are directly associated with specific business processes. Luckily, making that connection is part of our “walking backwards” approach to working the policy definition from the desired end result.
Actually, the determination of business dependence can be broken out into more discrete process steps:
- Identification of Dependent Business Processes – This can be an iterative review of how existing processes can be “tuned” to improve performance based on improved data utility for specific value drivers. For example, if the intent is increased revenue, this would trigger a review of each business process to look for revenue opportunities such as increasing sales, reducing the sales cycle time, increasing the number of items in a marking basket, identifying investment opportunities, etc. Of course, this requires an inventory of described business processes and their corresponding performance measures, but this is a topic for a future blog posting.
- Isolation of Target Data Sets – This can be somewhat tricky, since it is not focusing on the list of data sets used, but rather those data sets whose issues impede the optimal operations for maximizing value. The approach should be to work with the business process owner to understand what critical data issues are most important for business performance, and select the corresponding data sets. Those data sets become the target of definition of business data rules.
- Identification of Key “Owners” – The accountability for data utility must be rooted with a particular areas of the organization, whether that is in a business function or with someone in the information technology group. These owners are the ones who will help determine the particular roles and responsibilities for maintain compliance with defined data policies.
- Proposing Roles and Responsibilities – Lastly, the data stewards must help define the proposed roles and responsibilities for any formalized data policy.
Next time: drafting the data policy.