Fractional Data Governance

What is it?

Data Governance is difficult. Not least because no one really knows what it is. It suffers continental drift in terms of definition. Worse still the activities, outcomes and benefits of a robust, transparent and best practice data governance framework are rarely articulated or understood.

The biggest problem with realising any benefits is -while data may be postulated an asset – it does not have the same clarity of ownership, organisational structure, cultural behaviours and trained staff compared to other assets such as staff, finance and estates.

This makes designing, communicating, educating, implementing and sustaining data governance across an entire university quite a challenge. This lack of formal data governance qualifications and practitioner organisations make finding people who can do this equally difficult.

Hence the need for ‘fractional data governance‘. A good way to think of this is to consider how you would move house. Generally you’ll get advice to help you choose a new home, you’ll employ professionals in conveyancing, removals, etc. and you’ll have a set of processes to deal with changes of address, etc.

That’s what this is. A set of building blocks to get you started, and a simple framework to embed the necessary changes in culture and behaviour.

What can I do with it?

That depends. It must be aligned to what the institution has identified as priority, and further has to be mandated and supported at the highest levels. If such a commitment is made, there are many benefits including:

  • High quality, trusted data for improved operational efficiency and evidenced based decision making
  • A single source of data trusted throughout the university
  • An understanding of risks associated with data owned or data held on behalf of students
  • Confidence in data to support a data driven student experience
  • Visible improvements in efficiency around data cleansing and formatting
  • Less time arguing about whose data is right, and more time having the right data at the right time.

Who else is using it?

Many of the UK universities are embarking on either formal or informal data governance initiatives. Much of this is as a jumping off point to support the requirements of in-year collections, as mandated by the OfS through the HESA Data Futures initiative.

These institutions are considering student – and other institutional- data in a wider context. From operational reporting through differentiated insight and analysis. Many have a publicly stated goal to introduce learning analytics. These are all worthy goals but have to be built on firm foundations. Without a recognised Data Governance framework, those are castles being built on sand.

How much does it cost?

Fractional Data Governance is a service. It has a set of standard components which are customised to each institution based on the desired outcomes and the current level of maturity.

Our standard approach is to carry out a short ‘discovery’ phase to understand both outcome and maturity before offering a fixed price proposal to close that gap. Case studies from a number of UK Universities are available.

Where can I find out more ?

There is a longer read in the ‘What I’ve done’ section. You can find it here. For more details, please get in touch using our contact details below. We can also provide an anonymised sample report on request.

If you’d like to know,