I got certified in Marketing Data Governance a couple of weeks ago – and on the first day of certification class, I heard something that made me choke on my coffee.
Our instructor told us that the question we should be asking is NOT who owns the data – it’s who owns the means of analysis. Because they who own the means of analysis ultimately get to control the story.
That makes sense, and explains why I’ve been fought over. As a data professional, I mean. I’ve spent most of my analytical career in Marketing – but Finance, Information Technology, and Operations have all at one time or another discussed bringing my Analytics practice under their managerial control at various stages of my career.
Sometimes Marketing analysis points up shortcomings in other departments – maybe even running counter to a department’s carefully crafted party line. Maybe Sales isn’t converting leads so well. Maybe IT’s app isn’t thrilling customers. Maybe Finance’s allocation of budget dollars to acquisition at the expense of retention isn’t such a great strategy.
That inevitably makes some political waves. Politics shouldn’t enter into Analytics – except it almost always does. If we can’t steer clear of it, we can at least be aware of it and craft our data presentation and messaging to acknowledge it. This will help minimize the “shoot the messenger” dynamic – or the spawning of competing analytical operations controlled by (and not coincidentally, producing analysis flattering to) the departments they measure.
Analysis has power. Which means control of it is a big deal, a big responsibility, and a big political advantage.