I recently happened upon this post by Stibo Systems, offering five 'C's of Master Data Management: “Case”, “Content”, “Connecting”, “Cleansing”, “Controlling”.
In some respects I can't really fault any of the issues highlighted by Stibo - they certainly all need to be addressed as part of any successful MDM implementation. But yet again, we have a product vendor offering a very technology-centric point of view. Maybe not surprising, but still disappointing and frustrating in equal measure.
As I suggested in an earlier, post, it almost entirely ignores the human and societal factors of organisation, culture, process and human skills that will either make or break an MDM programme. One could possibly argue that these challenges are the prerogative of Data Governance, rather than MDM per se, so while I’d normally counter that the two are so inextricably linked as to make the distinction moot, I’ll go with it….
In the spirit of working together, and to complement Stibo’s suggested list, I’d like to propose my own "five 'C's for Data Governance”, which I think underpin the behavioural transformations that we’re aiming for with evidence-based decision-making:
Communicate: A common lexicon is foundational. People need to talk to each other and understand each other. We all achieve more if we understand what others are doing, if they understand what we’re doing, and how our own tasks fit into the wider organizational context. It is not always necessarily for them to agree, but any differences in interpretation of data terms need to be explicitly identified and mindfully handled.
Co-operate: no man is an island. Our work and the actions that we take will have an impact on those around us. At the very least, we shouldn’t be getting in each others way – we work for the same organization, after all! If there is data being generated within one department, then it needs to be made available to any other team who also can make use of it. To paraphrase my astute colleague and friend Meghan Vesey, “the attitude of POIM* is unacceptable and is not to be tolerated”.
(* “Piss Off It’s Mine”)
Collaborate: “Better together” is the current phrase being used within the “No” campaign for the Scottish independence referendum. Now, I’m not intending to get into the whys-and-wherefores of the Scottish independence debate. (As a Scot in exile, I don’t get to vote in the referendum anyway! For the sake of balance, here is the link to the "Yes" Campaign.) But I think the phrase neatly summarises a mindset where we go beyond simple co-existent tolerance and start proactively working together for shared benefit. Group-think can be a powerful enabler (as long as it doesn’t become just a gab-fest). Focus on action, target an outcome.
Cajole: This could also have been “Coach”, but I went for cajole a) because it’s an under-used word and b) it conveys a sense of proactive encouragement, rather than simply providing support when it is wanted. We all need a catalyst every now and again to get us away from complacency and towards creativity (More 'C' words!). Giving each other a shake up every now and again can be helpful – innovation comes from being pushed. Do this for each other on a regular basis, and the benefit is mutual.
Coerce: Yes, I’m going there. I am advocating that on occasion, you will need to manipulate people and bend them to your will. It’s a tool of last resort, but a carefully applied element of compulsion can break a deadlock, whether it’s in the form of a new policy, an applied standard, a new mandate or just simply an instruction to act in a particular way. Threats can be handy too, as long as you’re prepared to follow through! Force the issue, change the behaviour, drive the action, get a result.
Are there any other “C” words that I’ve missed? (Keep it clean please...!)