I am pleased that this Data Governance Interview is with experienced Data Governance Practitioner Nigel Light who has been working hard to improve data quality at Ecclesiastical Insurance (and yes they insure churches!)
After completing a degree in Chemistry and Geology at the Univeristy of Leicester Nigel has since followed the traditional path of IT development and systems/business analysis (mostly in General Insurance), over the last 30 years.
Outside of work he enjoys being outdoors, particularly cycling and walking, trying to tame his garden and is a long-suffering Gloucester Rugby fan/member (which, I feel, entitles me to the odd beer or 2 at times!).
How long have you been working in Data Governance?
On and off, around 8 years.
How did you start working in Data Governance?
I first started working to improve our client data as part of a CRM project but have since been instrumental in implementing solutions to improve our decision making data.
What where your initial thoughts when you first fully understood what you had got into?
The anorak fitted!
I get satisfaction from making things better and delivering improvements. The link to the business benefits from improved data that can be made appealed to me and I soon became a strong advocate.
Are there any particular resources that you found useful support when you were starting out?
I have been lucky with the solution vendors that we have worked with in that they have been really keen to work with us, understand our requirements and share their expertise.
I have learnt a lot from them and also from the Data Quality and Governance Community as a whole who are always helpful and forthcoming.
What is the biggest Data Governance challenge you have faced so far?
I think the challenge is yet to come. Setting up a Data Quality Programme is a no-brainer and most people buy into it; making it stick when other business distractions come along is much harder.
What have you implemented or solved so far that you are particularly proud of?
Apart from the technical solutions we have built and deployed, I am proud of the way that certain individuals within the organisation I work for have bought into the process; to the extent that one business area regularly reports zero Data Quality issues each month!
What single piece of advice would you give someone just starting out in Data Governance?
Get away from your desk and spread the word.
Data Quality won’t truly become ‘Business As Usual’ within an organisation unless there is a shift-change in mentality and I try to take every opportunity I can to promote the benefits of the programme and support the business community who are actually responsible for capturing, correcting and improving the data – as well as deploying solutions to stop issues occurring in the first place.
This should be supported by some really meaningful KPI measurements to help monitor improvements which can be used to encourage, motivate and support change.
Finally, what do you wish you had known or done differently when you were just starting out in Data Governance?
I realised early on that all data issues could not be fixed in one project! It is a more of a slow burning, long-term aim with gradual improvements being made rather than a big-bang, one-off approach and on to the next task.
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