Data Governance Interview with Nicole Hartley

Data Governance Interview with Nicole Hartley

- by Nicola Askham, Expert in Data Management

Nis a data governance professional with extensive experience spanning a number of years working on large projects. Her experience covers all aspects of data governance as well as the tools and technology to support governance processes and data quality.

How long have you been working in Data Governance?

I worked in a dedicated data governance role for 11 years but even prior to that data was always a core part of my career in one way or another.

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

I started out my career as a business analyst where I worked on many projects across different industries.  I always enjoyed collaborating with the business and being able to bridge the gap between the business and IT to ensure automated solutions met the needs of the business. Data was often at the heart of these projects and I was at times responsible for data migration and cleansing activities, so I have seen first hand the issues caused by having bad data!  I then made what felt like a natural progression into a Data Governance role.

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

I strongly believe that my Business Analysis background gave me many of the core skills that I needed in a data governance role. Communication is a key part of the role and being able to adapt your communication style depending on your audience is essential.  Another useful characteristic is being able to get into the detail of the business processes and asking the right questions to help tease out the information you need.

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

I have to confess, during my career I didn’t use any specific resources, I just built upon the skills I already had and then learned from experience along the way.  Being able to reflect and understand what worked well and what didn’t work so well is a great way to learn and develop.

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

It can be challenging to get people on board with data governance in the early stages, particularly before any tangible benefits can be demonstrated, but being an advocate for data governance and communicating effectively at all levels of the organisation can really help with gaining momentum.

It takes time to build trust, but it is crucial that you involve the right people from the outset and take them with you on the data governance journey.

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

I have worked in many industries but I would be particularly interested in getting involved in the healthcare industry, where having good is critical.

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

Take the time to do the groundwork first.  It is so important to get a good understanding of the business objectives and find out what the organisation is looking to achieve from a data governance initiative.  Do your analysis on the data and the processes and ask lots of questions!  Getting this right will set you on the right track for delivering data governance that will bring the desired benefits to the business.