(US & Canada) | Data Governance Is a Business-Owned and IT-Enabled Initiative — Mitsubishi Electric Trane US Director of Data Governance

Sarang Bapat, Director of Data Governance, Mitsubishi Electric Trane US, speaks with Sue Pittacora, Chief Strategy Officer of Wavicle Data Solutions, in a video interview, about the organizational data governance program, different governance approaches, the importance of executive sponsorship, the hub and spoke governance model, and building the right data talent.

Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US (METUS) is a leading provider of ductless and VRF systems in the United States and Latin America.

Being a sales and distribution-oriented organization, it is critical to have quality, integrity, and timeliness of data across the organization, says Bapat. On top of that, METUS is building its analytics capabilities, which indicates bringing business systems data into an analytic warehouse to drive insights.

As Bapat initiated the data governance program, he first established that data governance is a business-owned, IT-enabled initiative and not an IT exercise. Then, he affirmed that data governance is not a project but rather an ongoing theme and a strategic lever that can turn the organizational culture into a data-first culture.

While building the governance program, Bapat communicated with the business partners to understand their challenges, needs, and what distribution was important for the business in terms of data. This conversation revealed to him that one of the key data sets in the supply chain domain or sales and distribution, is material master data, and that was the first use case he tackled.

For instance, Bapat says that if there are 20,000 pieces of equipment, they can be used in 20 million deliveries. Thus, it is crucial that the information coming on those 20,000 pieces of equipment is right from a quality perspective.

Otherwise, the organization will face downstream issues on order management, warehousing, and customer care, with people not receiving things when they are supposed to.

Speaking about the marketing approach, Bapat states that he first considered speaking to the business and identifying relevant use cases. The aim was to start with something meaningful, such as metadata management, data quality, and data ownership, and then dive deep into other governance pillars.

Next, Bapat worked on the people, processes, and technology components of the program. He recalls convincing businesses to buy into the concept of being a data steward. In parallel, he identified the right vendors and a better data governance tool.

Then, Bapat hired a data governance engineer to implement the data governance platform. After a year in the program, METUS has onboarded six business units, with 12 data stores and 200 critical data elements identified with 250 data quality rules.

Apart from that, Bapat also highlights the importance of executive sponsorship, for which the data governance council has been set up. The council comprises C-suite executives who are updated regularly on how the program is going forward.

Moving forward, Bapat states that when it comes to data mesh or fabric, it boils down to assessing whether those architectural models are fair. Elaborating, he says, it is critical to examine if the data can be found, accessible, interoperable, and reusable.

However, if teams specialize in different data sets, such as finance data or customer data, there will be different federated teams creating their own data models, data assets, and access requirements.

Furthermore, Bapat states that the governance function is central and it becomes an organizational responsibility to have best practices around governance, create the platform, and maintain it.

He notes that the program execution will be done in a hub and spoke model.  He maintains that the data governance piece will be the hub, a center of excellence. Further, the functional areas will sit on spokes, such as data stewards for order management, supply chain, customer care, warranty pieces, and marketing.

Adding on, Bapat says that the organization’s governance model is a federated hub and spoke model. Also, the central piece is governed by the team that creates the platform and technology.

When asked about developing the right talent strategy, Bapat asserts that he focuses on people who are subject matter experts and also use technology to some extent. He affirms that teaching a new technology is not difficult, but having the right mindset about it is what he wants from a data steward. 

The other aspect, according to Bapat, is around people who implement the data governance platforms and data governance engineers with a relevant background. He concludes by stating that he would always go after the right skill set.

CDO Magazine appreciates Sarang Bapat for sharing his insights with our global community.

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