Building a data-driven culture
University of La Verne shares best practices in data governance, breaking down silos, and more
- It is a culture shift to get people to think of data as an institutional asset
- Uncovering the reasons for resistance to change and addressing them are key
- Using data to make better decisions is a journey not a destination
Todd Britton, CIO, University of La Verne
We've been doing some very bad things to our data for many years. We're working through our data governance structure, which has a broad representation across the institution so we can make data-driven decisions. But getting people to understand and identify and treat data as an institutional asset as opposed to, “it's just my data, I can do whatever the heck I want with it,” has been a little bit of a culture shift.
Many members of any higher education institution are very focused on protecting what they believe is theirs. So, we immediately took away the data owner title from our stewards. We call them data stewards now, because they have stewardship over the data. There is a fiduciary responsibility, but they don't own the data. It's an institutional asset.
So just fixing some of the language and being very clear, and really, if you come across resistance, understanding where that resistance is coming from. Is it because they truly abhor change and don't want to make any change, or is it more about they see it as a threat to, someone's going to see my numbers, that I'm not performing as well, or someone's going to see that I'm not as loaded as I say I am? Those kind of things.
So just having those conversations, guided, to say, we're not trying to find a gotcha. We're not trying to say you're doing something incorrectly. We're just saying this is our data. How can we leverage it? How do we move forward as an institution to make better decisions based on our data.
Culture change is a journey, not a destination
Start immediately. Start addressing the data and look at it from an institutional perspective, not just I need to report IPED, so I'm only going to focus on this data. Rather, how can I make data-informed decisions? And realize that it's a journey and not a destination, that it's going to be a contact sport, and that people are not necessarily going to be willing to help.
So start working with the people who are very for it or at least interested in it so you can build that momentum. And then you can have those peer relationships overcome that resistance. So start now.