by Kurt Knaub

 Rethinking Data Governance to Create Value for Your People and Your Business

A large healthcare insurer was struggling to create a data governance organization. Consultants, business teams and newly appointed data stewards were all on board. But the effort failed to gain traction. People began to question the strategy, which focused on cataloging all data, describing its current state, and sitting in lengthy meetings to create policies. The more time they spent, the further down the rabbit hole they felt. With no end in sight, the process was sucking the energy out of the people needed to champion it. New leadership asked Point B to deliver a data governance approach that would work for its people – saving time and delivering value.

From skepticism to solutions

Putting ourselves in our customer's shoes, we proposed a radically different approach to data governance. Instead of describing the state of their data, we urged them to focus on actually solving real data-management issues and using those opportunities to slowly build their data governance infrastructure.

Knowing what people had been through, it was crucial to prove how this initiative-based approach to data governance would work. So, we took on one of their most pressing data problems: the low capture of member email addresses. Without this member data, the company was still sending most Explanations of Benefits (EOBs) by mail. We showed how, by using data governance to solve the email issue, the organization would save over $3 million each year in postage alone.

The power of the playbook

To keep this initiative-based approach moving forward, we created a step-by-step playbook for going after data issues that deliver real business value. We used the playbook to train several dozen key people, with the tools to expand training across the business. The organization now knows how to focus its new data-governance muscles on problems that have a significant return on investment. Along the way, people have radically shifted their perceptions of what data governance can be. It's no longer seen as overhead or "the cost of doing business," but as a change agent that can cut costs and increase revenue.

As the business value of this approach has become visible, so has the boost to morale. Business leaders who never wanted to hear the phrase "data governance" again are now some of the company's most enthusiastic adopters. People at the center of the change not only see its relevance; they see results.