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At a time when data is often referred to as the "new oil", ensuring its proper governance has become a priority for companies worldwide. However, many companies are diving headlong into data governance without adequate preparation, leading to problems of inefficiency, mismanagement and lost investment. This often leads to wasted effort and resources, as many companies struggle to manage their data effectively. This article looks at these challenges and proposes a practical approach to tackling them.

1. The rush to data governance

1.1. The arms race

Keen to harness the power of data, many companies rush to implement data governance frameworks before they have the right tools or organizational structures in place. This is akin to building a house without laying the right foundations. This is mainly due to market pressure to stay ahead of the competition, even in the absence of a clear blueprint. The result? A cycle of rethinking strategies and structures, draining resources without producing tangible results.

The genesis of these problems often lies in a mismatch between strategic intentions and practical implementation. Consulting-induced transformations tend to create endless change and accumulate considerable consulting costs, with no clear end goal in sight. This inefficiency stems from an over-reliance on consulting services, instead of focusing on practical, scalable solutions from the outset. By adopting a more pragmatic approach, avoiding the trap of completely overhauling every process, companies can achieve a more efficient and sustainable data governance model.

1.2 Navigating a compartmentalized landscape with a heavy technological heritage

The presence of siloed departments and outdated IT systems is a common scenario in many organizations, complicating the data governance process. According to a McKinsey report, effective data governance can reduce the time employees spend on non-essential tasks by 74%.

Underlying risks :

- Data inconsistencies and inaccuracies, different definitions for different users.

- Reduced confidence in data-driven decisions.

- Increased complexity due to the absence of a unified data strategy.

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2. The illusion of service-oriented data governance

Many companies turn to external service companies for data governance because they feel they lack in-house expertise. However, this approach can lead to high costs and uncertain results, mainly for three reasons: (1) generic solutions that don't meet the company's specific needs, (2) high consultancy and maintenance costs, and (3) limited internal buy-in and knowledge transfer to company staff.

Underlying risks :

- Devoting financial resources without a clear return on investment.

- Introduce even more complexity into an already cumbersome data landscape.

- Delaying the company's progress in digital transformation.

3. A pragmatic way forward

3.1. End-to-end data management solutions

Rather than dealing with problems on a service-by-service basis, companies are well advised to adopt global solutions that manage data from end to end. This approach, supported by state-of-the-art technology, ensures that data governance is seamlessly integrated across the entire data lifecycle. By leveraging technology tools and platforms, companies can manage data more effectively, from collection to storage, processing and visualization, making data governance an essential part of their business.

Advantages :

- Greater data consistency and reliability

- Streamline data operations and reduce redundancies.

- Better visibility of data flow and governance.

    3.2 Progressive implementation

    Instead of attempting a massive "big bang" style transformation, companies should consider a phased implementation. By tackling challenges one by one, companies can ensure smoother transitions, better manage risks and budgets, and achieve faster results.

    Advantages :

    - Reduced disruption to existing operations.

    - Progressive gains that boost stakeholder confidence.

    - Flexibility to adapt and pivot as the digital landscape evolves.



      The digital age beckons, but the path ahead is fraught with pitfalls. The key to navigating the data governance maze lies in recognizing the shortcomings of current practices and adopting a pragmatic, solutions-oriented approach. By doing so, companies will be able to truly harness the power of their data and move confidently into the future.

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