Data Catalogs, Dictionaries and Glossaries

A Practical Guide to Resolving Data Definition Conflicts: Principles, Process and Progress


Identify data definition conflicts, analyze problem areas and resolve issues with a thoughtful, stakeholder-centric process.

A Practical Guide to Resolving Data Definition Conflicts, a 21-page resource authored by our senior consultant Gretchen Burnham, offers a framework for working through persistent data issues in your organization.

The guide includes Gretchen’s thoughts on why organizations have long-standing data conflicts due to siloed legacy systems and why those definitions don’t always work enterprise-wide.

“Now, data is expected to flow seamlessly throughout our organizations’ operational systems. And we expect the data to combine flawlessly for reporting and analytics. Data that was previously fine within its own data stream is now in conflict with similar data in another part of the organization. This is where the big thorny data problems begin.” – Gretchen Burnham, First San Francisco Partners

How to Resolve Data Definition Conflicts

Gretchen outlines four guiding principles to keep in mind as you analyze and work to address data conflicts:

  • Avoid judgement
  • Focus on the data
  • Question the status quo
  • Be pragmatic

She also details a conflict resolution process for:

  • Gathering stakeholders
  • Analyzing the conflict
  • Formulating resolution options
  • Approving and implementing the resolution

Throughout the guide, Gretchen champions data governance’s role and how governance — its teams, processes and its inherent mission — are uniquely qualified to facilitate data conflict resolution activities.

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