How to Deliver Analytics Governance in a Decentralized World: Thoughts and Experiences from Donald Farmer and Heena Sood

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At ZenOptics, we continually research the crucial aspects of managing data and analytics effectively within organizations, and we’ve been discussing these insights and observations in our ZenTalk webinar series with guest speakers. ZenTalk 6 with renowned industry expert Donald Farmer and ZenOptics CTO Heena Sood is a special example of this, as we share real-world approaches for analytics governance - particularly regarding the challenges governing a decentralized environment.

Understanding Decentralized Governance

A pattern emerging in data and analytics organizations is the movement toward decentralized governance models. While centralization was once deemed necessary for effective data management, technological advancements such as data mesh and data fabric have shifted this preference toward decentralization.

Decentralized stewardship marks a significant development, allowing subject matter experts in business units to own their analytics assets within a comprehensive governance framework. This model enables teams to manage assets effectively, aligning with business objectives and enhancing accountability.

Four Approaches for Supporting Decentralized Analytics Governance

1. Create a KPI Command Center.
Establish a centralized repository of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and analytics assets where all the relevant indicators and metrics are curated, defined, and easily accessible for specific audience groups. This streamlines visibility over the KPIs/metrics while providing consistency in understanding them - regardless of where within various business units or functional areas the KPI originated. ZenOptics provides such a repository and subsequent dashboard from a list of certified KPIs/metrics in the Analytics Catalog.

2. Build confidence with governed, certified reports and analytics.
Starting with the KPI “Command Center” as mentioned above, create ties/links to certified reports and dashboards for supporting detail. The “Related reports” functionality in ZenOptics establishes linkages between relevant, trusted assets for further discovery and easy reference. When an individual is examining a KPI, they can then see the list of reports and dashboards where that particular KPI is being used.

3. Rationalize and optimize the reporting environment.
Rationalize the reports within your analytics environment up-front for a more targeted user experience. Then establish processes for ongoing report lifecycle management to maintain an optimized environment. With the ZenOptics “ROAR” (report optimization and rationalization) methodology and capabilities, ZenOptics provides visibility of the assets that exist in all the underlying tools, allowing the BI/Analytics teams to assess what may be duplicates, redundant, outdated, or unused. As a result, business end users spend less time finding the accurate, appropriate information they need to make business decisions.

4. A decentralized stewardship model helps drive governance at the organizational level, yet establishes individual accountability.
This provides guardrails for citizen developers or self-service analytics users to create and promote content in a governed manner. For some customers, ZenOptics becomes a centralized report catalog for promoting content from distributed content creation activities according to overarching policies and procedures.

Key Platform Capabilities

The webinar also emphasized the need for strong platform capabilities to support decentralized governance, including:

  • BI Glossary and Dictionary: Management and curation of key performance indicators (KPIs) and analytics assets.
  • Report Governance and Stewardship: Establish governance workflows, setting report certification standards, and utilize metadata maintenance for insights on usage.
  • Metadata Management: Use of metadata to facilitate asset rationalization and optimization, supporting automated governance processes.

Utilizing these capabilities allows for a systematic approach to analytics governance, fostering transparency, accountability, and informed decision-making.

Final Thoughts and Takeaways

To conclude our series on analytics governance, Donald and Heena emphasize these critical points:

  • Essential Practice: Analytics governance is indispensable for organizations aiming to enhance the value of their data and analytics resources.
  • Flexibility and Adaptability: Governance requires a customizable approach. ZenOptics provides a versatile toolkit enabling organizations to adapt governance to their specific conditions, culture, and level of maturity.
  • Enabling Function: Rather than being restrictive, governance facilitates confident operation, promoting innovation and efficiency.

The effective navigation of analytics governance in a decentralized framework demands a strategic approach, using appropriate tools and methods to synchronize business objectives with data-driven insights. CIOs, CTOs, CDOs/CDAOs, and analytics leaders must view governance as a fundamental element of organizational success moving forward.  Watch the ZenTalk series with Donald Farmer here.

If you wish to learn more about ZenOptics and analytics governance, please request a demo.

Published May 3, 2024
About The Author

ZenOptics helps organizations drive increased value from their analytics assets by improving the ability to discover information, trust it, and ultimately use it for improving decision confidence. Through our integrated platform, organizations can provide business users with a centralized portal to streamline the searchability, access, and use of analytics from across the entire ecosystem of tools and applications.

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