Chris Atkinson is partner CTO at Snowflake. He works with Snowflake partners to craft joint solutions. Much of his work focuses on democratising data and breaking down data silos to drive better business outcomes. In this blog, Chris shows how Snowflake and Alation together accelerate data culture. He shows how Texas Mutual Insurance Company has embraced data governance to build trust in data. This, in turn, has improved decision-making and collaboration.
As organizations grasp the power of data, many are embracing data-driven culture to create a competitive advantage. According to the 2020 IDC BI End User Survey, 66% of those surveyed believe strong data culture (1) enables faster time to insight and (2) makes leading organizations more resilient.
However, to-date, the most common question my customers and prospects ask me, regardless of vertical, is, “Can I trust the data in the analysis?” While one might be quick to point out that a data modernization project could help users trust the data, that is only part of the solution. Data governance, along with technology, is vital to create trust in data.
Through the Snowcase program, we highlighted how Snowflake and Alation help joint customers with data governance in the insurance industry. One joint customer, Texas Mutual Insurance Company, leverages data governance together with technology to stay competitive in the market, while accelerating the adoption of a data culture.
Here are a few of my takeaways on their success:
1. To build trust in data, start with understanding businesses’ pain point.
Texas Mutual’s data governance plan focuses on partnering businesses’ to build trust in data. Instead of locking down the data and focusing on mitigating the organization’s risks, Texas Mutual Insurance Company concentrates on solving business pain with data. This has allowed Texas Mutual to elevate data conversations between their eleven business domains, thereby breaking down organizational and data silos. As a result, their data governance plan focuses on solving major business pain points, creating benefits for everyone.
2. Successful data governance requires businesses to change their mindsets.
Data governance is successful when it’s embraced as a business process. In fact, leaders like Anthony Seraphim, VP of data governance at Texas Mutual, help business leaders understand data governance as an integral part of their business. This radically changes leaders’ view of their role in data governance, as former “passengers” become “drivers.”
Once business leaders at TMX changed their mindset, business leaders nominated subject matter experts (SMEs) in their business domains to collaborate with IT. Together, they built a business process for data governance, which is owned by business SMEs and embraced by business users.
3. Technology is an enabler for data culture.
Texas Mutual allows its users to self-serve in Alation whenever they have a data question. As a result, users trust the data behind their analysis because they can easily understand where the data came from and whether the metric calculation conforms to the organization’s standard calculation.
Texas Mutual leverages Snowflake to improve data quality, security and privacy compliance; users can rest assured that they have the most accurate and updated data for key analysis, such as the daily premiums report. Business executives now rely on the daily premiums report to make critical business decisions without hesitation.
Democratising data across organisations is a fundamental step to building a data driven organizational culture. This requires data to be mobilised and its consumers empowered across the business. This cannot happen without an active data governance approach. Data governance encourages business users to make faster, more informed business decisions, which is only possible when users have complete trust in the underlying data of each analysis.