Data Governance Interview with Carl Beaman

Data Governance Interview with Carl Beaman

- by Nicola Askham, Expert in Data Management

My latest Data Governance Interview is with the fantastic Carl Beaman.

Please can you introduce yourself, Carl?

I feel data has always been of interest to me in my working career, but it hasn’t always been straightforward in working with data how I would have liked. In previous employment, I took it as a responsibility of my own to manage data quality and implement processes and methods to ensure data was managed correctly throughout its life. This was in a customer service role which I believe helped me to gain an understanding of the importance of the information we work with both from a customer perspective and an employee perspective.

Outside of work, I enjoy playing football and going on walks, so being active is important. I also enjoy gaming and problem-solving (a key factor for me working with data and looking to implement Data Governance).

How long have you been working in Data Governance?

I’m still early into my role of Data Governance Officer at Plus Dane and will be coming up to 1 year in position in July. I have worked in data quality prior to this officially for around 2 years but have worked with data for well over 10 years.

Some people view Data Governance as an unusual career choice, would you mind sharing how you got into this area of work?

I’ve worked with data for a number of years and have always had an interest in information and data and working to ensure it is the best it can be, updated, managed etc. and this led to a desire to move into an official position working with Data Quality at Plus Dane. I love working with information, facts, figures but ensuring it all works as it should and having confidence in this.

Performing the Data Quality Officer role had a natural progression for me in applying Data Governance and working on the implementation of this. I’ve worked in customer facing roles and with information and have seen firsthand how missing or incorrect data can have a massive impact on people both inside and outside of the business.

What characteristics do you have that make you successful at Data Governance and why?

I enjoy the challenge this role brings every day, not just the data itself, but how people view data and Data Governance itself. So having these conversations and being able to present the reasons why we are doing what we are doing matters.

So, the characteristics I feel I have which are important in this role are communication and confidence, being able to convey the correct message to various people within the organisation and doing this comfortably digitally and personally. Also, patience, this is not a quick fix or a straightforward process, Data Governance is a journey, and, in some cases, you need to be understanding of people and them not being engaged with what we want to achieve.

Are there any particular books or resources that you would recommend as useful support for those starting out in Data Governance?

Personally, I have tried to use as many resources available to me as possible to build on the skills I’d already developed and to learn new skills that I can carry forward. I have used LinkedIn to follow Data Governance experts, used webinars provided by various organisations, attended training courses – I found your training courses that I have been able to attend useful.

One thing I do feel is extremely beneficial and again was part of your training course, was to be able to interact with people from other organisations and have conversations around where they were on their journey implementing Data Governance. This gave me reassurance in what we are doing but is great to hear that others have faced similar challenges or are facing them as well.

What is the biggest challenge you have ever faced in a Data Governance implementation?

Getting people engaged or to “buy-in” to Data Governance. When I have spoken about Data Governance there have been occasions where you can see the other person switch off because you mention Governance and that can be disheartening. But that is part of the challenge and I have had instances where people have told me they weren’t fans of data or didn’t have an interest in Data Quality or Governance but now they can see the benefits and why we are implementing Data Governance into the business.

Is there a company or industry you would particularly like to help implement Data Governance for and why?

I used to work for a mobile communications company so it would be interesting to see how they manage their data and what level of Data Governance is in place.

What single piece of advice would you give someone just starting out in Data Governance?

Don’t be disheartened when you are faced with people who aren’t on board with Data Governance because they will be there. Have confidence in yourself in what you want to achieve, and that challenge will be worthwhile.

Finally, I wondered if you could share a memorable data governance experience (either humorous or challenging)?

A memorable experience for me is having feedback on the work that has been performed so far with Data Governance and how this has changed the mindset of people and how they view our data and the importance of Data Governance.

To face the challenge of people not being interested or feeling that this has little to no importance is tough considering this is my line of work, but to be told that these feelings have changed, and they can see the benefits of the work we are carrying out is great. But the best bit – this is to hear that rather than dread the Data Governance meetings or updates, they look forward to these and enjoy participating and engaging with us, that helps me to maintain focus and keep driving forwards.