Episode 16: Change Management: How does it connect to Data Governance?

Change Management: How Does it Connect to Data Governance?

Change Management: How Does it Connect to Data Governance? In this episode of “Talk Tech with Data Dave,” we delve into the vital connection between change management and data governance, highlighting the necessity of managing organizational change to improve data governance practices. We explore how setting data standards and aligning organizational behaviors with these standards are crucial for leveraging data effectively and driving business strategies. The conversation also emphasizes the importance of a culture of continuous improvement and measurement in achieving successful data governance. This insightful episode offers valuable perspectives and actionable insights for tech enthusiasts, business leaders, and anyone interested in data-driven decision-making.

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Published:

February 12, 2024

Duration:

00:17:29

Transcript

Alexis
Hi everyone, welcome to Talk Tech with Data Dave. My name is Alexis, and I am your host of this podcast along with my dear friend who’s here with me today, Data Dave. Hey, Dave. 

Data Dave
Hi, good morning, Alexis, how are you and? Happy New Year to you and everybody else. Happy New Year! Welcome to 2024. 

Alexis
It’s officially our new year, although it’s been your new year, listeners, for a little while now because we’re ahead on our recording a little bit. I’m very proud of us. But yes! New year, new shirt for Dave, looking fly in his bright blue polo. I’m loving that. 

Data Dave
Do you see how it matches the background almost perfectly? I think it’s perfect. 

Alexis
Yes, our Director of Marketing picked that out, and I was like, “Ohh girl, that’s the perfect color.” 

But today we are here to talk about a topic that we hit a little bit during our Data Dave Dives Deeper with Monica Kapoor episode that posted at the very beginning of this year. In the conversation, Monica brought up change management and how important change management is to data governance. So, that’s what I want to talk about today. But before we do that, I just want to remind everyone that you can submit a question to Data Dave by emailing us at talktech@d3clarity.com or by going to the D3Clarity website and submitting a question right on our web page. 

So, Dave, let’s talk about change management. Change management: Why is it so important when it comes to data governance? Let’s break that into two parts. Can you explain change management? 

Data Dave
I can certainly try. Change management is a big topic as the name implies. It is the management of change. The construct there is –  we’re talking in the context of an organization – How do we change an organization and consciously change an organization for the better or for what we perceive as being the better of the organization? They do it naturally. I think we’ve had this conversation before as well, which is we say, every organization has a culture. Every organization has a way of operating and a persona in its own right. And change management is about the conscious will to change one of those core facets from what it is to something else for the benefit of the organization. 

Alexis
Right. 

Data Dave
And those projects around that and ways of doing that and way to identify them, et cetera and ways to approach them from a psychological viewpoint, from a managerial viewpoint, from a technical view, from a number of different viewpoints to drive an organization to be different than it is today. It’s, “How do you structure that change to drive an organization in a specified direction to be different?” 

Alexis
How you drive an organization in a specific direction to make a difference, 

Data Dave
Yeah, to be different and to make a difference. So, you might say, “We’re going to have a strategic intent to better quality, better customer support, better whatever.” It might be, “We’re going to engage with our customer base in a different way than what we’ve done before. We are going to enter a new market where all this is around change and change management, “We’re going to change the behavior of a large part of the organization.” 

We had a client that said, “We’re used to being resold through big box. Because we now need to move to an online structure where we own our customers ourselves.” That’s a significant change for an organization used to be a small goods, small appliance manufacturer to say,  “We’re not gonna sell through…” and just pick an example, Home Depot, “…anymore. We’re gonna do that as well. But we also want to own our own customer base.” That’s a big change. 

Alexis
For sure. 

Data Dave
And it’s a big change for a lot of individuals. It’s a big change for the organization, but it’s an even bigger change for all the people that are used to behaving in a certain way that now have to behave in a different way.  

And so how do you drive out this level of change? This level of structure that organization use to drive change, measure it, manage it and understand it? Train, teach, lead, all the individuals whose behaviors now need to change into this new world. 

Alexis
So that sounds like culture to me. It sounds like adapting a company’s culture to create change. 

Data Dave
Well, it is and this is what a lot of people don’t realize, especially in IT and especially in the tech world. Where we say, “Okay, we’re going to put in this application, put on this thing, offer this new technical platform.” Well, if people don’t know it’s there. If people don’t know how to use it. If people don’t know how it can drive benefit, and change their behavior for a more efficient behavior, then that project is going to be perceived as a failure.  

We put it in the “IT project was successful”, but the adoption of it and the change that is inherent, that needs to happen to take advantage of it. If we don’t do that, then that project will not deliver the value that it was originally intended.  

And that’s kind of the basis of it if. We put in e-mail. E-mail now has become a cultural thing. We’re all familiar with it. In the 1980s/1990s, when e-mail was brand new. That was a big cultural organization change for a lot of organizations to start to embrace e-mail rather than sending memos to everybody in inside mail and so on. And now we see that organizations don’t have a mail room anymore, and we’re not sending internal mail addressed in little envelopes with lists of people that it’s been to before and things like that. For those of you that are my age, Alexis probably doesn’t even remember that, but I certainly do. 

Alexis
We did a little bit of that at my old organization, but only very, very seldomly because it was just easier. It’s a lot more efficient; it’s a lot better. But you’re right, I never went through a culture where that was the standard use. That was always the exception use for me. And then now, as you guys know, D3Clarity is a totally remote organization. So like, there’s no way I could send a memo to Dave anyway. 

Data Dave
Right, exactly. 

Alexis
I could put it in the mail and send it. But you’ll get it in four days. 

Data Dave
And then I don’t pick up my mail very often either, so it would be lost in the mail. For months. And right, way out of date by the time I got it. 

Alexis
That’s a great perspective of change management, but I want to apply that specifically to data and specifically to data governance because that’s what we talked about with Monica.  

I felt like we started something really great there, and I want to continue that conversation. So, what impact does change management have on data governance? Ir is it what impact does data governance have on change management? 

Data Dave
They go very much hand-in-hand. It’s hard to put them in any particular order.  

The genesis for data governance is, “Our data isn’t as good as we want it to be. It doesn’t support our business as well as we want it to. Therefore, we need to govern it better.”  

What does governance mean? Well, governance really means management to standard. “We’re gonna set a standard for our data, and we’re gonna manage our data to that.” And that’s really what governance means at the core of it, whether it’s legislator or whatever somebody else might set the standard, that’s fine, or we set our own standard. We’re managing it to a standard.  

Well, if we’re managing it to a standard, and we’ve defined the standard and it’s different than what it was before, then people’s behavior or systems behavior must change in order to adopt that standard. 

Alexis
Okay. 

Data Dave
And it can be as simple as we require an e-mail address for every customer. You’ve heard me tell that story before. “We require an e-mail address for every customer” – that is now managing data to that standard. Well, now we get into, if somebody is collecting that e-mail address, their behavior must change because they have to ask the question. They can’t leave it blank anymore. We’re managing to a standard that says, “This must contain e-mail address.” Notice the use of the word must in that. So we’ve set a standard that a customer record must contain an e-mail address. Now, that means that somebody creating that customer record must have an e-mail address. So, we must ask for one, and it must be valid. 

Alexis
Right. 

Data Dave
So you can just put garbage till you got to do that, so now you’re leading into the fact that this data management world is directly related to people’s behavior within the organization, within the jobs that they’re doing. Because they asked the source of the data, they’re also the consumers of that data. So, if we’re never going to send an e-mail to that e-mail address, because we don’t use e-mail, going back to our e-mail analogy a few minutes ago, if we’re never going to use that e-mail address or send that e-mail address, then why are we collecting it? 

Alexis
That would be my question. 

Data Dave
If we’re going to collect it, then our marketing organization is going to market to these people. We’re going to know who they are. There’s gonna be something there. There’s gonna be a reason for that. For having it. So, if they’ve never sent an e-mail campaign or whatever, then that’s a change, because now we’re gonna change to online marketing instead of in person marketing or whatever it is.  

So, there’s a change in how we consume that data that is now better, and there’s a change in the way that we collect the data – that is collected to a standard. So, this starts to link back to the culture question that we talked about. Because culture is about the way people behave, and the way organizations behave, and every organization has a culture. So if people’s behavior doesn’t change to take advantage of the data that we’re talking about, that we’re governing, and people’s behavior doesn’t change to align with the standard of what we want to collect, then our data governance or our technology or whatever is driving that backbone of data, is essentially for naught. We’re not getting any advantage for our efforts. 

Alexis
If we’re talking about change management, specifically with data governance, it’s the importance of making sure that the organization has accepted and adapted to the new procedures that need to happen in order for data governance to be successful. And that, in and of itself, is change management. Is that quick and dirty of it? 

Data Dave
Exactly, basically, yes. And if we look at it a little further and say, “We’re doing data governance because we want to become more data-driven in our decision making.” That’s often something that we hear is, “We want to be a data-driven organization. We want better analytics. We want our data to describe our business better. We want to use it more in our decision-making. We want to become a data-driven business.” 

There’s two aspects of that. One is around the data, and the other one is driven-business. So, if you want to be a data-driven business, then you need to look at your data, but you also need to look at the “driven business” part of it. 

Alexis
Okay.  

Data Dave
And start to say, “We are going to change the business because we have better data.” And that is a core piece to it. If you build it and don’t adopt it then your building is for not. You’re not gonna get the benefit if you try and adopt it before you’ve governed it. Before the data supports it. Nobody will trust it. So, they go hand in hand.  

Now there’s another point in here as well, which is your “driven business” idea will also drive data governance because if you think about it and start to say, “I’m going to change my business to depend more on data.” Well, that will expose areas where your current data is an impediment to the way you want to do business in the future. 

Alexis
That’s very true. 

Data Dave
Which will lead you into, “Which areas of my data do I want to focus on first? Where do I want to look at this standard? If I need this data to support this business practice, then I better put in a standard that ensures that this data supports this business practice.” Otherwise when you try and change that business practice to what you want it to be, people will not trust it and you’ll trip up. Because your data can’t support it.  

There’s no point saying- going back to our e-mail analogy- “We’re going to change to online marketing. We’ll start doing e-mail campaigns.” (I know I’m 20 years out of date saying we’re gonna do e-mail. But we’ll go there anyway.) We’re going to suddenly start doing e-mail campaign so our marketing culture is going to move to an online, e-mail based culture or behavior. But then we suddenly realize that 60% of our contacts don’t have e-mail addresses. And of the 40% that do have e-mail addresses, 20% of them are Mickey Mouse. Now my e-mail marketing campaign is going to fall flat on its face because my data, or my data governance doesn’t support where I’m going now. 

You can start this in both ways, right? You can start it from both ends, and you can understand that. And then you can start to put in the data governance to make sure your contacts are correct. But you’re not gonna get the results that you expect if you thought it was 100%, which is wrong anyway. But if you thought it was a higher percentage then you’re not going to get the results that you expected from your marketing. So, that’s gonna fail, and you’re gonna have to then go and reanalyze all the data which is where data governance starts to come in as both a leader and a trailer in this world. 

“Which do we analyze? What behaviors am I expecting to change? Does my data support the behavioral change that I’m going for? Or how much of this change does my data support?”  Then move these in concept so you’re evolving your data and you’re evolving the business at the same time.  

So, these two have to be lined in together, and it also comes down to a lot of measurement. If we talk about, and you’ve heard me say this before, data is often an analogy of the way we do this. It describes the business that you did. So if you want to change your data, well change your business and then your data will materially change.  

Your data is also a measurement of efficiency. If my data is bad then that’s probably an indicator that my business process is inefficient or somewhat broken or something wrong with it. So we can use them in concert with each other to drive this accelerated evolution towards this data-driven world that we want to live in. Does that make sense? That’s a lot of words. 

Alexis
No, no, I definitely hear you there. I’m summarizing a little bit, but for the original question – change management, what impact does it have on data governance – kind of the short answer is a huge impact! And that if you want to start a data governance kind of journey, change management has to be part of that journey. Or it will not be successful. 

Data Dave
That’s right. And it leads into business process engineering, business process change. Which is, “How do I measure my business process?” Well, I can measure my business process by measuring and looking at the quality of the data that that business process generates, so I can use that to measure that business process. If I’m smart about it, if we think about it and then drive that efficiency, so they are tightly coupled and then as they govern the data and introduce that data governance, I get more measurement. A validation of the data standard that I’m putting in place, which should be a corollary to the business process that’s occurring. So, the data standards should match the business process.  

If you tighten the data standard and start saying,  “I’ve got violations to this standard in my data,” that’s probably an indicator of inefficiency or slight violations of the business process that you’re expecting as well. And now you’re into analysis of process engineering and getting into some of the Six Sigma and Lean type business processes andtructures that we can put in place. 

Alexis
And that leads back to the Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? 

Data Dave
Exactly. Exactly, exactly. That leads back into that measurement of business practice, measurement process, measurement of efficiency, et cetera. Elimination of waste bad data as an example of waste etcetera, etcetera. And cycles back into this loop, which is, “Why data governance?” You’re never sort of one and done, it becomes a cultural aspect of itself. 

Alexis
I got you. 

Data Dave
Which is a culture of continuous improvement and continuous change and continuous measurement. 

Alexis
That’s great, Dave. Thank you so much for that explanation. That helped me understand those two concepts a whole lot more. I really like that. If you have a question for Data Dave, like I said at the top of the show, please send us an e-mail at talktech@d3 clarity.com and we would be more than happy to answer your question on the podcast. Otherwise, Dave, any closing thoughts or anything else related to change management or data governance that we need to talk about? 

Data Dave
I’ll finish with this. Absolutely. Please send us questions on any of these topics. We’re very, very happy to have a conversation with you. If you would like to join us and have that conversation, you’re welcome to do that as well.  

Just from a change management conversation, Alexis and I started this podcast, what, eight months ago? 

Alexis
Yeah, I think we posted the first episode in June of 23. 

Data Dave
Right June of 23. So, this is a huge example of change for us getting more online, getting more into this world, and starting to look and measure the results. And one of our measures of results is the number of you that ask questions. So please ask those questions.  

I mean, this is an example of the change, an example of the structure where we’re trying to drive this route with our own structures within D3Clarity. 

Alexis
We also measure with likes, comments, and subscribes, so if you have an opportunity to do any of those things, we would truly appreciate it. 

Data Dave
Shameless plugs.  

Alexis
Thank you everyone for joining us today. We really appreciate your time. Thanks Dave for chatting with me. It’s always a pleasure. 

Data Dave
Thank you and goodbye everybody. Thank you. 

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