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Data Governance Success & the Parallels with Marital Happiness

Amitech’s Big Data Practice Lead, Paul Boal, recently gave a webinar titled “Why My Wife Loves Data Governance.” His presentation covers the ideas of successful data governance programs, highlighting the parallels between data governance success and marital happiness. Paul opened the webinar by giving his new standby definition of data governance: an important initiative adopted by companies who seek to remove information barriers and risks that inhibit an organizations ability to effectively achieve its purpose. There are key goals for data governance, which include reducing operational friction, adopting common approaches, and ensuring transparency. If you think about it, these goals can be applied to marriage as well. Keep reading to learn how to ensure data governance success, while perhaps improving your marriage along the way!

First, data governance is implemented to reduce operational friction. The following steps are essential in reducing operational friction:

  • Make sure different departments agree on similar terms and conceptual models
  • Validate that the data looks the way its supposed to look
  • Utilize MDM to streamline the administration of core business data

How does this apply to marriage? First of all, no marriage is perfect. In marriage, it can be hard to coordinate schedules. Comparing schedules regularly avoids miscommunication, and utilizing shared calendars keeps each other informed, like an MDM implementation.

Another important goal of data governance is to adopt common approaches to issues:

  • It’s important to clearly define how information is being used and how it aligns with business operations and decision making
  • Lead by example
  • Hold yourself and others accountable - be clear on what you’re doing and why you’re doing it

This goal is applicable to that tough conversation married couples often have – how should we manage our money? Adopting common definitions on how expenses should be categorized and managed will eliminate tough conversations about money down the road.

In order for data governance programs to succeed, organizations must ensure transparency – everyone must speak the same language!

  • Create a common glossary of business terms
  • Make metadata easy to access and discoverable
  • Use plain language to communicate about data governance
  • Regularly share information across the organization about the work of data governance
  • Regularly share information about the value that is being created by teams who are practicing good data governance

When it comes to marriage, tell your partner how you feel and be honest with each other. If something is bothering you, request changes in behavior. Most importantly, schedule regular time to talk.

Data governance is not a program or program or an isolated capability. Rather, it is part of how an organization chooses to conduct operations and decision-making on a day-to-day basis.


Marriage does not end with the vows in a wedding ceremony; it requires the ongoing daily choice of a couple to remain committed to one another.

Data governance has to be perceived as something that drives the achievement of business objectives.

How can data governance make a direct impact on your organization’s goals?

For a more intensive overview of successful data governance programs and the keys to marital happiness, view the entire webinar here.

Have any questions or want to know more? We have answers.

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