Design Matters: How UX and UI Can Solve Data Governance Agility Problems

Design Matters: How UX and UI Can Solve Data Governance Agility Problems

July 7, 2022

The prevalence of data governance initiatives among medium to enterprise-level businesses are mainly focused on preventative measures. Otherwise known as risk mitigation.  

Risk, however, is hard to quantify.  

Even harder to quantify when the risk is somewhat translucent, like data governance. Since the whole point of data governance is a holistic approach to organizing structured and unstructured data, the human element is often overlooked since it already exists within the organization. 

Data is the most valuable asset on the planet, ergo, the most valuable asset your organization owns. However, if we think of data as just another technical problem to solve, conflict will arise between data governance and organizational agility.  

Perhaps we need to look at this issue as two separate components:  

Organizational agility implies the ability to move fast, reduce time delays and side-step otherwise crippling issues

Data governance implies a method of managing exposure and portability of data across the capacity of the organization. With access management being the second most important issue, and relevant data gathering being the first 

Agility is ostensibly a proactive, preemptive measure to support operational integrity. Since data, used correctly, is also a support system for preemptive decision-making, data is also part of organizational agility. 

We already know this, but when it comes time to figure out that mammoth task called data governance, we still ask questions like:

1: Is the platform going to be cumbersome? 

2: Will stakeholder support be yet another obstacle to overcome? 

Why?

One possible answer is that we understand our team better than any data governance solution could ever understand them. We know the reluctance and hesitation in the management structure, it’s not their fault, they’re once bitten twice shy when technical solutions are mentioned. Some things are just so hard to use, employees avoid using them to their fullest capacity. 

Since many data governance solutions fall at this hurdle, we thought it might be a good idea to take a deeper look at the question on the tips of every stakeholders’ tongue.  

The question, once answered, removes all barriers… Will this work for us? 

Organizations and IT are clearly a singularity event. Almost no organization can exist without IT infrastructure. This has meant exponentially accumulative issues for some organizations who adopt solutions late in the day. 

Also, organizations in the IT age are driven by on-demand solutions for, well, everything. From cloud-based software to 24/7 technical support with human technicians on hand, businesses want (and get) 24 hour, round-the-clock support. 

In some sense, we might think of modern “business” as a peripheral component of the entire internet. A mind-boggling accoutrement to the vast network, always collecting data, sometimes producing data.

Email, chat bots, voicemail, virtually reachable, virtually all the time.

Putting it bluntly, interlinked and always on. Still, in an “always on” world, the only “sometimes on” component is the human behind the desk. 

Despite good intentions, IT and business are at odds with one another for that reason. One is mechanical and rarely breaks. The other is biological and is prone to the seismic shifts in workflow a bad cup of coffee can bring.   

End-to-end data agility requires a seamless, fluid, ergonomic solution. It also requires the human component to know, like, and trust the solution. It’s why UI and UX should be the priority on developing data governance solutions, not the afterthought.  

The panacea, therefore, regarding the business agility and data governance stalemate is UX/UI superiority. In fact, speaking on a meta level, all “best solutions” throughout history are inexplicably linked to user experience. 

For when an easier solution broaches the common human experience, we more often than not adopt it.   

UX/UI design is the tip of the data spear when it comes to adoption ease and seamless end-to-end governance agility.   

The stack looks something like this:    

  • The organization wants to become/remain operationally agile through the implementation of a solution
  • UI/UX enables simplistic organization-wide adoption of said solution
  • Adoption enables clean data gathering 
  • Clean, fresh data enables implementation of said data
  • Implementation allows the organization to become more agile.  

And so on...  

The ability to reveal risk and address exposure is also critical to business agility. We think user-friendly UI/UX is the key to unlocking data signals that could seriously affect your organizational outcomes. A data discovery platform needs to address human implementation, ergo the agility issue, upfront.  

The need for consistent, clean workflows isn’t simply an aesthetic choice or a matter of preference. It’s an integral part of the whole, something that many solution providers have forgotten. Instead, opting for clunky UI that serves the development team, not the end user. Data governance is the hidden, organic story of an organization. It’s to be unlocked, empowered and implemented. Getting people onboard with the ergonomic UI/UX is front and center in that story. 

Get the people onboard, and the data flows naturally.

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