Living the Data Governance Lifestyle

Joe Leithauser
Director of Data Governance and Analytics
Infoverity

Throughout my career, I’ve helped countless organizations and industries implement data governance standards to define and manage their information – but the foodservice equipment and supplies industry stands out for how much it needs a solution. The work happening with the FEDA Data Repository will be instrumental in helping foodservice equipment dealers and manufacturers catch up with the modern world. The data governance standards put in place by the project are a necessary tool for ensuring that everyone is talking about the same products in a similar way. Some manufacturers, for example, were using unique terms for product categories, making it difficult for dealers to understand how an individual piece of equipment relates to the larger market. The FEDA Data Repository resolved this by creating 600 categories for manufacturers to use to define product groups, giving dealers and manufacturers a common set of terms to describe the equipment.

The buy-in from manufactures and dealers has been incredibly impressive. They understand that establishing these standards will help make each other’s jobs easier so that everyone spends less time translating information and more time working on behalf of customers. Even something as simple as using the same parts number for an item across accounts payable, e-commerce and shipping helps everything flow smoother and ensures the right product is delivered to the right person.

The thing about data governance is that once you start putting it into everyday processes, it snowballs. Companies quickly see the value and start identifying other ways to standardize their information. The most successful data governance projects are the ones that never end. It becomes a lifestyle of continuous improvement and completely changes how organizations see their data. Companies that embrace those standards no longer feel as if they are battling their data, rather they can more easily and quickly identify the information they need and how to get it.

At Infoverity, our perspective is that data can change people’s lives. FEDA is ready for that change. I’ve never seen a project move as quickly as the FEDA Data Repository, a testament to members’ eagerness to have industry standards in place and FEDA leaderships’ vision. But the launch of the repository is only the start. The next step is understanding where the rest of the supply chain is on the data governance curve and finding new ways to leverage what FEDA has built