Big G – Little g – Part 1

Data Governance is a foundational element of data management practices and technology efforts, and is especially vital to obtain quality analytics in organizations today. At Data Blueprint our extensive experience includes planning, implementing, and supporting Data Governance initiatives across a broad array of clients. We have designed and developed governance structures for large governmental organizations, as well as public and privately held companies of various sizes. In these experiences, Data Blueprint consultants have provided guidance and support for the design and implementation of data governance policy, structures, processes, roles and responsibilities, working groups, and data stewardship training. At Data Blueprint, we have what it takes to assist your organization with its Data Governance needs.

Big G - Little g, Data Governance by Gwen Thomas

Figure 1: Big G – Little g, Data Governance by Gwen Thomas

In all of Data Blueprint’s engagements, we find that a critically important step in implementing Data Governance is to gain a common understanding of how to think about and communicate the topic. Data Governance at some level is required for the success of all data management practices. We have encountered many efforts that began with a top down driven approach that was difficult to implement. In our experience, we find that the most successful efforts use a two tiered Big G – little g model developed by Gwen Thomas, and depicted in Figure I, in order to facilitate a common understanding.

“Big G” Data Governance begins at the highest levels of organizational function and provides guidance where organizational strategy, information, and technology meet. “Big G” Data Governance encompasses policies, decision rights, control objectives, and accountabilities, whereas “little g” Data Governance begins at the grass roots level and works upward to meet and align with “Big G” Data Governance.  Data governance at the “little g” level concerns tactical design decisions, controls, and issue resolution. The transitional layer in the middle integrates both policy and the implementation at the user level. Using the Big G – little g model will provide a common understanding of Data Governance and enable a team to communicate and implement in a consistent way. Most importantly, this common understanding will help bridge any gaps between strategic needs and operational realities.


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