January 26, 2023 | Nicola Askham

Nicola Askham

Gary has over 40 years in IT with experience across a variety of industry sectors including developing and leading teams across IT Services, Project and Programme Management, Application Development, and over the last 10 years or so more focus on data – MI, BI, Data Warehousing, Governance, Quality etc.

How long have you been working in Data Governance?
Maybe around 6-7 years in practice, longer unknowingly as a necessity and bi-product of other roles.

Some people view Data Governance as an unusual career choice, would you mind sharing how you got into this area of work?
It came about out of genuine interest and frustration. I think frustration when delivering BI and DW services where governance was immature and therefore had an impact on results. The interest came about with a desire to put this right and contribute to enabling data as an asset and to remove similar frustrations for other people.

What characteristics do you have that make you successful at Data Governance and why?
Tenacity, endurance, perseverance, knowledge of data and associated issues, and sense of humour.

Are there any particular books or resources that you would recommend as useful support for those starting out in Data Governance?
There are many but anything produced by DAMA and also Precisely is good.

What is the biggest challenge you have ever faced in a Data Governance implementation?
Making it business-led and gaining acceptance and support across the business.

Is there a company or industry you would particularly like to help implement Data Governance for and why?
It doesn’t really matter to me which industry it is as the principles are the same, it’s the reasons for doing it and obviously the business itself that differs. However, it would be good to implement this somewhere that has a positive impact on the planet, humanity, nature or people.

What single piece of advice would you give someone just starting out in Data Governance?
First of all, believe in what you are doing and don’t give in. If there are valid business reasons for doing it then seeing the benefits come to fruition is worth the pain. A basic understanding of people in terms of psychology will help to explain the behaviours and reactions that you will experience.

Secondly, gain an understanding and/or experience across several disciplines such as Data Management, Data Quality, Data Modelling, BI and Business Strategies in order to understand the need for data as an asset and the issues and difficulties involved in getting it there.

Finally, I wondered if you could share a memorable data governance experience (either humorous or challenging)?
They are all challenging but since my whole nature and approach is based on humour (not always directed well) I can recall many things but one that springs to mind is…

In the early days of people being introduced to computers on their desks, I found one older employee who didn’t need all the information presented to him. Subsequently, I found that he had tip-exed out on the screen all the information he didn’t need, not realizing that other selections would present different information

Here more from Nicola at our Master Data Management & Data Governance Conference on 9 – 12 May 2023.

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