The Secret To Getting Buy-in For Data Quality From Sponsors

How can you get sponsors to buy into your grand data quality plans?

What if there was a way to reduce the risk and uncertainty of rejection?

Read on to find out how.

Getting Buy-In For Data Quality

So you create an ironclad proposal for your business leader. Everything is in place for your big meeting, the one you’ve been preparing for over the last few months.

You all sit down and explain your big idea for “Enterprise Data Quality”.

It’s a big vision but you know what’s required and what the payback will be. You’re absolutely passionate about steering your company forward with your big masterplan for quality data.

The problem is that you’re probably starting in the wrong place. Instead of thinking “big”, you need to think “small”. Business leaders don’t like big, given a choice between big and small, they’ll pick small every time.

The key to successful buy-in for data quality? Chunk up the small.

Chunking For Data Quality Success

We all know that data quality is really an enterprise initiative. If your website pulls in crappy contact data and shunts it downstream into order handling, billing and customer analytics then it’s false economy to continuously cleanse it in each downstream branch. You need an holistic approach to data quality.

Getting a sponsor to sign off on something big like this requires trust. Unfortunately at the start of your data quality journey trust is in short supply.

It’s equivalent to a young startup doing the rounds trying to drum up venture capital funding. The questions your backers will ask are things like:

  • “So have you done this before?”
  • “What’s your track record?”
  • “How long will it take to get us a return?”

You have to take the same approach that startups take. They pitch for multiple rounds of investment and buy-in. Demonstrating value and trust until they build up to the big one, perhaps an IPO or final funding round.

Smaller Chunk, Smaller Risk, Faster Buy-In

By creating smaller chunks of buy-in you’re dramatically reducing the risk to the sponsor. Even if they don’t voice it, risk of failure is uppermost in their mind. “Will I look a jerk at the next steering committee when I announce a $100K flop?”. They may tell you they’re concerned about resourcing, ROI, impact on other programmes and so on but the real reasons are always personal, people simply don’t like to fail.

So, create your masterplan for data quality then break it down into much smaller chunks. The personal risk to the sponsor becomes far less and each time you’re building trust in your ability to deliver.

By rigorously measuring the impact of these small chunks of change you can then demonstrate the benefits for your next request. In addition, if one of your improvements fails to deliver then the sponsor won’t suffer embarrassment with their peers and seniors as it may barely even appear on the corporate radar.

What do you think? How have you approached the issue of getting buy-in within your organisation? How did you build up to getting investment and sign-off?