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Five Pillars of Data Governance

Five Pillars of Data Governance

29th Jun 2018


Taken from our Ascot CIO Event, October 12th 2017

By Kelly Olsen

What is Business Intelligence (BI)?

Business intelligence takes raw transactional data from our systems and converts it into
something meaningful that we can use to make better business decisions and run the

Measures should be unambiguous and there should be a common understanding of what they are and what they mean. This makes information easier to share and act upon, allowing management to run the business using commonly understood measures and controls.

An important aspect of BI is data visualisation - decision making is supported by collecting facts and figures into a single informative dashboard which summarises data so it is easier to interpret, with the ability to drill down into underlying data as required.

Good BI allows the user to take their own views on data in a consistent way e.g. this might mean allowing users to view data by region and then shape and analyse it. It helps in picking up on trends and spotting business problems that need to be addressed.


In short, BI:

  • Makes it easy to access and share information
  • Enables real-time analysis with Quick Navigation
  • Helps identify waste in the system
  • Reduces the risk of bottlenecks
  • Helps you know your business
  • Improves the decision making process


  • All business areas must assume responsibility for the data they own, its measurement and control. Why? IT and BI teams may store and report on the data and assist the business in correcting the IT, but they have no control on the data that is input or how it should be used to run the business, that is a management responsibility.
  • Management information is the lifeblood of an organisation, good business decisions cannot be made without reliable information. Great businesses are run through understanding their data, in particular financials and client data.
  • Proper data ownership and maintenance is important because all data degrades over time, in some cases this can be as much as 40% per annum.
  • Producing good BI requires a core BI team of highly motivated individuals who are given the
  • freedom to construct the solution and maintain it going forward. These individuals need to be able to straddle both the technical and business worlds.
  • The way that great BI is delivered is by creating a robust Governance Framework with clearly defined roles and responsibilities.

BI Business Benefits

  1. Eliminates guesswork so decisions and strategy can be made on hard data not 'gut feel‘
  2. Provides a consistent view of business data irrespective of the business area using it
  3. Essential measures required to steer the business are routinely produced in a robust way and are easy to interpret
  4. Key business metrics are available to all that need access in a format relevant to them, instantly and across multiple devices.
  5. Gets faster answers to business questions because the data is already in a properly analysable format and can be sliced and diced to answer specific questions
  6. Ensures information recorded is correct with the discipline to makes sure record keeping is kept to the highest standard, so the business knows what it is doing
  7. Lower cost – specialists are tasked to provide information for the business rather than an expensive cottage industry with pockets of uncoordinated amateur capability spread across the business.
  8. Reporting expertise can be brought together into one area so a consistent approach can be taken and rigour and agreed policy applied.
  9. Formal BI eliminates personal bias and prevents information being cobbled together on spreadsheets and being an individual’s interpretation of the facts

5 Key Pillars of Effective Information Management

To drive long term value out of your business application investments, it will be important to embed effective data and information management capability across your organisation. This
will be achieved through 5 core enablers.

  • Data management: the planning and execution of practices and projects that acquire, control, deliver and enhance the value of data assets stored in relational databases
  • Document and content management: the control over capture, storage, access, and use of data and information stored outside relational databases.
  • Business intelligence and reporting: the planning and execution of methodologies that enable the collection of data from internal and external sources, prepare it for analysis, develop and run queries against the data, and create reports, dashboards and data visualizations to make the analytical results available to the business.
  • Architecture and technology: tools and technology to store, process, analyse, and report on data and information
  • Data governance: the policies, standards, accountabilities and ownership of information assets.


  • Accurate, complete, trusted data
  • 360 degree business view
  • Faster, better, more confident decision making
  • Single version of the truth
  • Regulatory compliance

How It Works

  1. Raw Transactional Data i.e data in ‘machine speak’. Note: Transactional reporting will still come directly from systems above.
  2. Transform the data into an understandable format using special tools.
  3. Standardise and summarise data to provide rapid reporting and analysis, including trend and period comparison. Note: EDH needs architecting and implementation
  4. Construct and manage reporting and dashboards from standardised data in the data warehouse.
  5. Distribute reporting using web tools via the intranet or a portal

What information should we track

  • Keep it simple do not ‘boil the ocean’ ‘...think big, start small and quick, scale fast’ approach there is much you can achieve to show value and get the buy-in to build further
  • Focus on business critical measures to start with
  • Create a single dashboard that can be viewed by Executive team and Management on a monthly and weekly basis


Facilities Management
  • Value - capital v lease v maintenance spend –is it worth it?
  • Services taken/not taken by clients
Asset Management
  • Buildings and overall assets
  • Value of the portfolio
  • Occupancy – actual usage – desks
  • Account management effectiveness
  • Valuations, disposals, number of buildings and occupiers services provided
  • Revenue Growth
  • Profitability by region/site
  • Bill payment
  • Aged debtors and the arrears
  • Management Fees
  • Issue resolution
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Complaints

The G-Spot- BI Governance Framework

An executive steering committee of senior sponsors from each business area meets quarterly to review the BI roadmap, prioritise projects, and secure funding. They set high level policy and provide guidance. They also provide executive oversight of the initial project

Data Owners are a key role and they are responsible for defining measures, making sure they are widely understood and ensuring the underlying data is maintained to the highest standards. This is a business and not a technical role and they work with business stakeholders and the BI team.

The BI team own the BI Framework and maintain supporting processes and technology. They build and maintain the data warehouse and provide reporting.

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