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Why should data governance and data quality be on the CDO agenda?

Giving both data governance and data quality the attention they require

Data governance and data quality are two hot topics as organizations strive to be more “data-driven”. But what do they actually mean for your CDO? We strive to explain both concepts and their relation in order for the CDO to effectively implement, manage and prioritize them.

The growing relevance of data

The potential for using data to power business strategies and day to day operations is greater than ever. Many organizations therefore strive to become more “data-driven”. However to be effective, data needs to be properly governed and the requested quality standard needs to be ensured. Only then, data can be relevant and meaningful. This is where the concepts data governance and data quality come into play.

Data governance as a prerequisite for a “data-driven” organization

Data governance is about creating ownership and responsibility for the data within your organization, working across organizational and system boundaries. Shared ownership and responsibility for selected decisions within the executive, tactical and operational level of the organization, empowers people to participate in the “data-driven” way of working.

Data quality as a means to bring trust in decision making and communication

In theory data quality is about ensuring that the data in your organization is complete, accurate, consistent, timely, unique and available in such a way that analysis can take place. This means that your data is always meeting your expectations and is ready for you to provide the insights required. Within the “data-driven” organization, data quality is therefore key in making sound data-driven decisions and communication on either a tactical, operational and strategic level.

The challenge of data quality

Data quality is a subject that is still often addressed by separate departments within the organization individually. Departments work to ensure the quality of the data they use in their day-to-day work.  They assume that the quality of the data they receive from other departments is in order. This siloed approach leads to a different understanding of data quality throughout the organizations. Therefore data quality should be addressed integrally throughout the organization, as many departments use, change, delete or duplicate the data during their processes. A different perspective on data quality by one department may therefore lead to lower quality data for another department.

Ownership and understanding are key

In order to tackle the challenges of a siloed approach to data quality, it is pivotal to create a shared understanding of data quality throughout the organization. Each department and person involved in data should understand that data quality, amongst other data topics, can only be addressed effectively if it addressed integrally.

This is where data governance comes into play. Through shared ownership, strategic data management aspects, such as data quality, can be addressed on a tactical and operational level. Only when data is viewed as an organizational-wide and shared asset, different departments and people will start to address data quality as a shared effort as well.

A top-down approach

Mostly involved in the executive level of the organization the CDO is the person to lay the ground work for a shared ownership and understanding of data through data governance. This includes formulating a data strategy, used to guide all data related activities. As shown in Figure 1, these strategic decisions are then to be translated into both tactical and operational objectives.

Figure 1. Data Governance Managerial Structure
Figure 1. Data Governance Managerial Structure

Kick off with data governance

Data governance is key for an effective and high-quality data driven organization. Without data governance, no consistent approach on data quality can be set. Therefore any CDO should always ensure that a proper data governance foundation is in place, as a means to maximize the value of your data.

CDO Services

Deloitte’s comprehensive and customizable CDO services exists to guide and support you on this journey towards a data-driven organization. Our multi-model offering allows organizations to familiarize with data governance and all other CDO aspects in a low threshold manner.

Inspiration sessions, CDO labs and workshops lead to planned initiatives and a prioritized roadmap. This roadmap can then be executed through a transformational organization-wide program or strategy execution within a business process or a scoped business area.

CDO services combines our data and analytics capabilities to match the need your data journey. Deloitte is recognized by a.o. Gartner for its data vision and ability to deliver a broad range of data & analytics services.


For more information, please see below:

Risk Advisory - Navigating the Chief Data Officer (CDO)’

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