Master data governance council

A master data governance council is a cross-functional, multi-layer team that collectively owns master data. The council steers master data management initiatives at the program level.

A master data governance council has the responsibility and authority to establish how master data is captured, managed, and propagated across the organization. The council members work together to approve and establish policies to achieve short and long-term goals. The council establishes the data quality rules for the content of master data in the source systems. The council determines how consistent the data from the source systems must be with the trusted source. The council determines the consistency by establishing metrics for the key performance indicators or KPIs.

The council must understand the focus areas, patterns, and processes that require their involvement. As with any business function, the council must have success criteria that is measurable.

Typically a master data governance council is composed of leaders who can represent the broad needs of the organization, such as:
  • Functional business leaders
  • IT/IS Executives
  • Business analysts
  • Data stewards
  • Subject Matter Experts by functional area
  • DBA and technical experts

The council has the ability to influence priorities in various operating units. The council controls the use of funds and other resources to accomplish the data management objectives.

Policies define levels of quality that must be achieved to reach the quality goals. One method that you can use to define the policies is to have the group that is most affected by the lack of a policy draft the policy. The group then submits the proposed changes to the council for approval.

Procedures define how policies are implemented. The procedures must define who is responsible for performing the procedures, and the tools and steps that are necessary to perform the procedures. Procedures are meant to be living documents, to be revised as requirements change.

Similar to procedures, business rules also define how certain levels of data quality must be achieved. Business rules are typically part of a policy document and they might be repeated across policies.

Metrics are a way for the council to monitor and measure the levels of quality and consistency that are achieved. The metrics are the measurements that enable managers to monitor trends in achieving the goals of the policies.

Sample council organization

The following graphic shows one possible organization for a master data governance council.

Figure 1. A sample organization for a master data governance council.
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The executive board defines the mandates and targets for master data governance. The success factors at the lower levels of the council should be aligned with the mandates and targets from the executive level.

The operating committee reports to the executive board and is composed of a committee chairperson, committee representatives, and information system representatives. The council can use committees to represent the various areas of an organization. The committee representatives act on behave of the operational needs of their areas for high-quality information. The most common committee representatives are people who have the authority to represent a specific functional or operational area. These representatives also have the authority to identify requirements and objectives to the rest of the committee.

The council might use working groups on an occasional, as-needed basis to focus on a specific problem that require specialized focus and abilities. The composition of a working group usually consists of a business analyst and information systems specialists. The business analyst represents the operational, functional, or other administrative requirements of the organization. The information systems specialists might serve in an analyst role, an architecture role, or something similar.

Last updated: November 6, 2015