On the day of the Data Governance Council meeting, Bonasera, the executive director of one of the organization’s business units who did not support the early phases of the data governance program, has come to ask Data Corleone, the head of the council (and who is also known as the Godfather of Data Governance), for a favor.
Bonasera’s business unit is suffering from a regulatory compliance failure caused by poor data quality. Bonasera is humiliated, and has come to Data Corleone to ask that his data quality issues be resolved. Corleone asks what exactly he wants. Bonasera whispers into his ear: “Fix the data.”
Corleone refuses, and points out that Bonasera has not been much of a friend to the Data Governance Council until now. Bonasera admits he was afraid of getting involved in another enterprisewide initiative since so many previous ones had failed. The dialogue continues:
CORLEONE: I understand. Your business unit has always been profitable. You managed your own private data and your business silo protected you from the problems affecting other areas of the enterprise. And you didn’t need a friend like me. But now you come and you say, “Data Corleone, give me data quality.” But you don’t ask with respect. You don’t offer friendship. You don’t even think to call me “Godfather of Data Governance.” Instead, you come into my office on the day of my Data Governance Council meeting, and you ask me to fix your data.
BONASERA: I ask you for data quality.
CORLEONE: That is not data quality. Fixing your data will not fix how your data came to have these quality issues in the first place.
BONASERA: Just buy me a data quality tool. My business unit, as you said, has always been profitable. How much shall I pay you?
CORLEONE: Bonasera . . . Bonasera . . . What have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully? If you’d come to me in friendship, then this regulatory compliance failure would be resolved this very day. And if by chance an honest man like yourself should make enemies — people who would be the root cause of your data quality issues — then they would become my enemies. And they would fear the enforcement of my data governance policies.
BONASERA: Be my friend — [he bows to Corleone] — Godfather of Data Governance [he kisses Corleone’s hand].
CORLEONE: Good. [Pause.] Some day, and that day may never come, I’ll call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day — accept this data quality as a gift on the day of my Data Governance Council meeting.
“I know it was you, Fredo.”
Although data governance is about governing people as well as data, sometimes this causes punishing bad data-related employee behaviors to be overemphasized, which makes data governance sound like it’s all about enforcement.