As master data management efforts continue to grow, the need for strong data governance teams and principles grows along with them. But many organizations are challenged at how to best formulate a successful data governance strategy.

Creating an effective data governance team around MDM starts with five key concepts, according to Sherri Adame, in charge of enterprise data management in the Chief Data Office at healthcare services and insurance provider Cigna. Adame shared those concepts at the MDM & Data Governance Summit, held in Chicago July 11-13, during her presentation, “Making governance of master data real.”

According to Adame, the five key concepts to establish a successful MDM data governance team are:

  • Understand customer data lifestyle
  • Know your ecosystem
  • Make the connections
  • Know your super powers
  • Be agile and focused

The most important concept is to know how your stakeholders use data after they capture it, Adame says. In the case of Cigna, that was the first order of business once a data governance team was established. Team members went out and interviewed stakeholders on what data they needed to access, for what purposes and how they would use it.

As the investigations by the governance team progressed, team members showed various departments what they were focusing on so that the two groups could agree on what the data governance scope should be and how systems and applications impacted it.

Individuals in existing data steward roles were tasked with determining who needed what data, Adame says. Her budget did not allow for adding more data professionals to the staff, so the firm looked for ways to automate processes whenever possible. Part of that process involved greater use of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Since Adame had to make use of existing resources, she sought out individuals for her data governance team that were on project teams that always seem to get funding. She knew those would be among the best and the brightest.

Finally, Adame wanted individuals that could be agile and focused. She stressed that success with MDM data governance will depend on the ability of team members to combine technology, business processes and people needs and capabilities.

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