As I go around speaking to lots of businesses there is one thing that I notice. People are still using the word ‘Data’ all the time and talking about ‘Data Governance’. Now this isn’t a bad thing, its great that they are talking about governance and data at all. One of the common challenges however is how do you change people’s mindsets about governance and convey the shift that is being made?  Governance groups are great, Data Stewards are great but one of the key things that needs to change is the language.

First of all stop talking about Data.  Data is what you have today and the reason you have Data is that it isn’t governed and you don’t have trust in it.  What you want is Information.  Making that subtle shift in language and putting it forwards in that way is a very powerful mental cue for your organisation.  Everyone complains about Data issues but calling things ‘data stewards’ and ‘data governance’ just emphasises the connection with the problem rather than the solution.

So if you are looking at Product Data and you want to take control then think about the following:

  1. Have a Product Information Standards Group group – These are the folks who define the gold standard of ‘good’ for turning your current Product Data problem into a future Product Information benefit
  2. Call your Product Data Stewards something different, for instance Product Information Managers or Product Information Analysts.  Make clear that these aren’t people just managing database records they are doing a clear business role
  3. Talking about the Product Data problems but the Product Information benefits
Making these sorts of minor language changes helps to shift the organisation away from talking about database records and technical data issues into considering Information as a genuine corporate asset and sees the role of governance as the key part of that transformation from technical challenge into business advantage.
When looking at MDM and Information Governance the most important piece is always changing the way people think.  A large part of that is changing the way they talk about the topic.