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Guidance By Gwen


Currently the Corporate Data Advocate at the World Bank Group’s private sector arm (IFC, The International Finance Corporation), Gwen Thomas is the Founder of The Data Governance Institute.

Gwen has personally helped build Data Governance programs at the Federal Reserve System, Sallie Mae, Disney World, NDCHealth/Wolters Kluwer, American Express, Washington Mutual Bank (WaMu), Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Wachovia Bank, Coors, and others.

Gwen frequently presents at industry events and contributes to IT and business publications. She is the author of the book Alpha Males and Data Disasters: The Case for Data Governance.

Her blog series, Guidance By Gwen, is a wealth of knowledge on data strategy, data governance, and realizing value from information assets. Below are links to some of her most popular blog posts.


Guidance By Gwen


Getting Started

How do you put together a sustainable Data Governance and Stewardship program? Here Gwen provides definitions, a discussion of Governance versus Stewardship, and typical program goals and principles. She provides guidance for starting a program and describes the different implementation phases of a program.

– Defining Governance

– Demonstrating Value

– Focus Areas for Data Governance

– Funding Models

– Setting Goals & Principles

– Starting a Program

– Defining Program Phases



Organizations and Accountabilities

How to build your governance effort. Here Gwen describes how to assign data ownership, responsibility, roles and responsibilities. She also discusses working with data stewards, choosing and working with governance models, defining your organizational structures and establishing a Data Governance Office.

– Organizations and Accountabilities

– Assigning Data Ownership

– Working With Data Stewards

– Working With Governance Models

– Defining Organizational Structures

– Establishing a Data Governance Office

– Setting Roles and Responsibilities



Processes and Alignments

These topics address what you do when you’re doing Data Governance. We’ve started with high-level overviews of a few basic topics: Roles & Responsibilities, Alignment, Communications, Decision-Making, and Issue Resolution. Gwen’s got lots of detailed processes and tools in these areas; she’ll be making them web-ready and posting them over the course of the summer and beyond.

– Processes and Alignments

– Aligning Efforts

– Communicating

– Dealing with Politics

– Engaging Stewards and Stakeholders

– Implementing Change Management

– Decision-Making

– Resolving Issues



Focus Areas

Data Governance programs exist to meet specific needs, such as supporting Compliance, Business Transformation, and/or Business/Data Integration. As a result, there can be many different ‘flavors’ of Data Governance programs that focus on different initiatives. Here Gwen discusses topics that describe six common focus areas, the types of data they typically address, and what might be included in a charter for this type of program.

– Focus Areas for Data Governance

– Policy, Standards, Stategy

– Data Quality

– Privacy, Compliance, Security

– Architecture Integration, Analysis

– Data Warehouse BI

– Management Alignment