If Data Governance Were a Pokemon

Pokemon Go and Data Governance

We all know you clicked on this because you want to “catch em’ all”, but you get a two for one deal, Pokemon and data governance. Imagine if this post led you to the nearest Mewtwo, that would be nice, but unfortunately it doesn’t because no one has found one yet! But it does lead you to the next best thing that no Pokestop could ever give you; understanding how data governance and Pokemon can be related.

Now there are hundreds of Pokemon in this fictional universe, but only one reigns superior in its comparison to data governance. That Pokemon is Gyarados, the water Pokemon that is ferocious, yet highly effective when properly trained. If you are familiar and currently playing Pokemon Go (like most of the world) you must be thinking, a Gyarados? The Pokemon that is not only difficult to find but is also evolved from the seemingly worthless Magikarp? Of course! Here’s why.

Data Flop, Flop, Flop

Let’s first breakdown Magikarp and see how it relates to your data. Magikarp is a red-orange, medium-sized fish with large heavy scales, and can be found in most bodies of water. This Pokemon is usually overlooked by most people because it is considered pathetically weak, spending most of its time flopping around.

Now if you compare that with your current state of data, it may look very familiar. Data that goes unused, that is irrelevant, or that seems to just flop around in your systems without the proper governance to turn it into a true business asset.

Although Magikarp may seem useless and more of a nuisance than a benefit, it is a hidden gem. With focus, support and nurturing over time, your Magikarp can evolve into one of the most sought after Pokemon, Gyarados.

However, the first step in getting a Gyarados is to catch a Magikarp, or in terms of Pokemon Go, 400 of them. This is not an easy task, but catching one will definitely start the process on your journey to a Gyarados, because once one is caught, more are likely to show up.

Don’t Be a Fish, Be a Dragon

Gyarados is a large sea dragon, it has fins running down its massive blue serpent body and a large gaping mouth with dagger like fangs. It’s known to be a very ferocious Pokemon, but within Pokemon Go and the animated series, those who have tamed this beast have been able to get the most benefit from its amazing power.

Data governance, like Gyarados, is not a new concept. It’s been around for many years, but many companies still lack the framework to apply controls and address data ownership to unlock its power. Too often, you’ll see data quality and data governance implementations only after a critical data error damages a company with revenue loss, non-compliance, customer dissatisfaction or other consequences. Smarter companies leverage the wealth of their data with data governance best practices and data technology to avoid these painful catalysts.

Taming a Gyarados is no small feat. It requires support from others. And just like data governance, you’ll need to determine the maturity of your overall data management environment and identify priorities and pain points in order to build management support that truly achieves the best business value from your data governance initiatives.

Being such a powerful Pokemon, a Gyarados can run rogue if not monitored. An effective data governance program can do the same and requires ongoing data monitoring and sound quality metrics in order to evolve. Be sure to keep your data governance and Gyarados in control:

  • Focus on reusability and automation of rules and code
  • Empower your data stewards with the appropriate data quality tools
  • Analyze and govern your business processes at the data level
  • Avoid standing in the path of your Gyarados during a Pokemon battle

With time, support and the right tools, you can evolve your own data into an effective data governance program too. You have to start somewhere though, even if it is with a Magikarp, and learn to get quick wins while also continuing to deliver. And then your data can “be the very best” by having the right data governance in place. Just don’t pass up on your Magikarps, they’re worth more than you think.

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