We, data management professionals, are lucky. There are plenty of well-developed international standards in place, like COBIT, TOGAF, and of course DAMA-DMBOK. Internet provides numerous articles and endless advice on the subjects. So, let’s book success… but the question remains: how will I succeed? How to make the data management function operating effectively and what are the main success factors? 

I am lucky having 6-year hands-on experience: a journey of understanding the data management concept, developing policies and procedures, convincing management to start its implementation, and implementing them in a scope which is acceptable for the company . 

What I realized while being on the way: 

Success factor 1: practical support of your company top management 

Have you ever asked your top management whether they would support the data management function? Has somebody told: “No”? The answer is always “Yes”. Of course, they see the booming interest for the function at the market. 

But in reality? What does the ‘practical’ support to you as a Data manager mean? 

If your top management: 

  • takes responsibility to set up the data management function as a business function within the company
  • positions Data manager functions in such a way that Data manager will have not only a responsibility but also power to execute their tasks
  • takes actions on the key data-related issues resolution

Then your first step to success is completed. 

Success factor 2: possibility to effectively execute your function 

How do you balance your responsibilities and the power you have to execute whatever is needed?

Data management assumes a shared responsibility across a company. In this context a Data manager plays a role of an internal consultant and a coordinator. Your customers are all departments of your company. 

You know that in order to function effectively, the data management function is to be independent and is to be positioned at staff management structure level. But moreover, it is also to be separated from any other staff departments like Finance, IT etc. Should it not be the case, then the conflict of interests between departmental and organizational goals becomes an obstacle for efficiency. 

So, if you brought in balance both responsibility and power, then you made the second step toward success. 

Success factor 3: your communication skills 

It is your chance to become a great communicator in order to manage groups of data stakeholders with different, and often, opposite interests. If you are still able to keep the company interests in the main focus, making all stakeholders satisfied, then you definitely started your third step into direction of success. 

Success factor 4: Software 

How many applications are you dealing with? We all experience to deal with rather complicated software landscape, don’t we? And we still need to keep track on all data management deliverables aligned and up to date. 

Major of these dynamic deliverables like business and data glossary, data models, business rules, data lineage require software to keep interdependencies between the deliverables. So far, I have never come across a solution which has fully satisfied these needs. Have you? 

Thanks in advance to those who would be interested to start this journey of sharing our practical experience.