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Data Governance

“State of Data Governance” Survey Results


Last month, we conducted a “State of Data Governance” survey to better understand what companies are doing to respond to the evolving data landscape. Our questions focused on Data Governance, management and lineage in the organization. Our clients and contacts received the survey, and we heard back from individuals at nearly 60 organizations across the U.S.

Our Data Governance (DG) survey revealed some current trends, organizational challenges and opportunities and the business drivers for implementing a governance program. Specifically, we discovered that:

  • Many organizations struggle to launch and/or sustain a governance program.
  • There are universal issues and obstacles that detract from effective governance.
  • Organizations object to the cost and usability of DG tools and software.
  • It is difficult for organizations to manage and sustain a business glossary.

Company Role Related to DG

Most of our survey respondents were in information/DG roles, followed by people working in data and/or information architecture areas.

What is your role?
Information/Data Governance52.7%
Data and/or Information Architecture16.4%
Executive Management9.1%
Business Intelligence and/or Analytics7.3%
IT Management5.5%
All Other 9.1%

Company Industries Represented

Our survey included responses from individuals in more than 30 industries, with the top two being insurance (22%) and banking (13%).

What is your company's industry?
Insurance 21.8%
All Other20.0%

Company Size

Our State of Data Governance survey represented the views of companies of all sizes, with almost half our respondents working at companies with more than 5,000 people.

How many employees are in your company?
101–1,000 16.4%
0–100 3.6%

Governance’s Place in the Organization

The majority of survey respondents (48%) said their organization has a DG program in place, with 29% being in the early stages of roll-out and 19% researching or planning a program. Only 2% are not considering a governance program at this time.

47.9% of survey respondents said their organization has a Data Governance program in place.Click To Tweet

There is a dedicated DG function in 71% of the organizations we surveyed, with 27% of respondents saying there is no dedicated function and 2% saying they weren’t sure where the responsibilities resided.

When asked who is responsible for driving DG in the organization, nearly 40% mentioned a dedicated DG area; 23% said Information Technology led the effort. Other responsibility areas included analytics/reporting, finance, risk/compliance, supply chain management and the data architect team.

Biggest Obstacle to a DG Strategy

The biggest barrier to establishing a formal governance strategy is lack of resources (staff, IT, etc.), followed by it being too hard to prove the business case and senior management not seeing governance as important. Other responses cited a variety of obstacle blockers, including software tools being too expensive, lack of focus (“DG means different things to different people,” one respondent said) and cultural barriers within the organization.

What is the biggest obstacle to establishing a formal DG strategy?
Lack of resources (staff, IT, etc.) 39.6%
Too hard to prove the business case20.8%
Not seen as important by senior management 18.8%
All Other20.8%

Key Benefits of a Governance Program

We weren’t surprised to see that improved decision-making topped the list of governance program benefits at 29%, followed by improved operational efficiency (19%) and improved data understanding and lineage (17%). Driving revenue came in at last place on the list at 4%.

What is the most important benefit of Data Governance?
Improved Decision-Making29.2%
Improved Operational Efficiency18.8%
Improved Data Understanding and Lineage16.7%
Improved Data Quality16.7%
Complying with Industry Regulations8.3%
Driving Revenue4.2%
All Other6.3%

Governance Software Usage, Vendors and Challenges

Organizations choose governance software as a way to support their program and automate key processes. We asked survey respondents to name the DG software tools they’re using today, and here’s what we learned:

  • Informatica was the choice for 29% of respondents, with Collibra following at 19%.
  • IBM (18.8%), Oracle (8%) and SAP (8%) were the next most common solutions.
  • Several respondents mentioned using simpler enterprise tools, like SharePoint and Excel, and 15% of respondents they’re currently not using any software.

We asked about future software tool purchases and any vendors under consideration and found that:

  • Informatica and Collibra topped the list, at 19% and 15% respectively.
  • Other vendors cited included IBM (6%), SAP (6%), Oracle (4%) and Adaptive (2%).
  • 21% of respondents said they are unsure about their organization’s intent to purchase new or replace existing DG software.

We stayed on the topic of DG software and asked about organizational challenges with vendor tools, regardless if they currently use one or not. We learned that 40% of respondents said their organization lacks the ability to integrate with common source of metadata. More than one-third of our respondents said governance software is too costly, and an additional one-third said industry software is often not geared for business users.

More than one-third of respondents in a Data Governance survey cited DG tools/software as being too costly.Click To Tweet

Business Glossary Maturity

A key element for a governance program is a business glossary, which Gartner describes as “the semantic foundation for logical data warehouses and business analytics.”

Our State of Data Governance survey asked respondents to describe the maturity of a business glossary in their organization. Only 11% of respondents stated having a glossary in place, followed by 51% having one partially in place. Another 11% said they don’t have a glossary in place. Nine percent are either researching or actively planning to add a business glossary.

We also inquired about glossary software tools and found that 50% of our respondents said their organization implemented a tool and initially populated it, but they’ve had difficulties sustaining the effort. Thirteen percent of our respondents said they depend on manual documentation for their business glossary.

Data Governance Survey Conclusions

Our survey findings confirmed much of what we see in our daily work with clients:

  • True, sustained governance is a work in progress, with organizations routinely tweaking and adjusting their approaches.
  • Governance is never a one-size-fits-all effort, but one that’s tailored to the organization and its structure and resources.
  • Program responsibilities often reside within a dedicated DG team or in IT, but some organizations find success with other ownership structures.
  • Often, DG initiatives get stalled out and then re-started when a pressing issue or new business or industry need arises.
  • The daily work of “doing governance” depends on both manual and automated solutions, with easy-to-use and low-cost options preferred.

We thank our clients and contacts for their time in completing the survey. We look forward to gaining new insight into effective, sustainable Data Governance in the months and years to come.

You can find our full set of questions and the responses to the State of Data Governance survey here.