Growing Recognition of Data’s Strategic Value


Autor: Andreas Seufert

Unleash the power of AI – Findings and Implications: Part 3

The Article is a summary of some key findings conducted by our research [Set 22] on the AI ecosystem and its implications for companies. (provided with kind permission of the original source: „Unleash the power of AI – Findings and Implications. In: Seufert (Hrsg.) df&c – Magazin für #Digital #Finance #Controlling, Schwerpunkt Digitale Transformation. Heft 1-2022, Steinbeis Edition, Stuttgart 2022, (Seufert, A./ Nelson, M./ Setlur, V./ Turner-Williams, W./ Wright, K./ Myrick, N.“)

Mark Nelson is President and CEO at Tableau. He sets the vision and direction for Tableau, and oversees company strategy, business activities, and operations. Prior to becoming President and CEO, Mark was the Executive Vice President of Product Development for Tableau, helping broaden and deepen the company’s industry-leading analytics platform to support customers globally.

Vidya Setlur is the Tableau Research Director, leading a team of research scientists in areas including data visualization, multimodal interaction, statistics, applied ML, and NLP. She earned her doctorate in Computer Graphics in 2005 at Northwestern University. Vidya previously worked as a principal research scientist at the Nokia Research Center. Her research combines concepts from information retrieval, human perception, and cognitive science to help users effectively interact with systems in their environment.

Wendy Turner-Williams manages Tableau’s Enterprise Data Strategy, Data Platforms and Services, Data Governance and Management Maturity, Data Risk, and Data Literacy. She and her team are fuelling data-driven business innovation, transformation, and operational excellence at Tableau. Wendy has 20+ years of management experience across sectors, most recently leading the Information Management & Strategy Enterprise program at Salesforce.

Kate Wright is an analytics leader with 17+ years of development, product management, and leadership experience. She’s responsible for Analytics Engineering, Product Management, and overall User Experience for Tableau and Tableau CRM. Neal Myrick is VP of Social Impact for Tableau and the Global Head of the Tableau Foundation. He leads the company’s philanthropic investments to advance the use of data for a more just and equitable world. Neal is an active angel investor and sits on several global health and development advisory boards.

Andreas Seufert is professor at the University of Ludwigshafen and director of the Business Innovation Labs. Andreas leads the expert group controlling & analytics of International Association of Controllers.



During the last two years many organizations had to adjust strategies and adapt to a new world. Changes to the way we live, connect, communicate, and work has forced every person and organization to become even more digital and data-driven than ever before.

When many organizations transitioned operations online, it came with a huge influx of information because every digital interaction generates valuable data that can provide insights and support faster decision-making in this digital-first world.

To get deeper insights, we conducted research and spoke with experts, customers, and other thought leaders to learn what emerging forces continue to evolve how we work, the role data and analytics play, and what this means to the future of companies.

Following we briefly discuss some of our key findings:

  • AI solutions will see greater success by reducing friction and helping to solve defined business problems.
  • Competitive organizations expand their definition of data literacy, invest in their people, and double-down on Data Culture.
  • There is growing recognition of data’s strategic value drives flexible, federated data governance techniques that empower everyone across the organization.
  • Responsible organizations will proactively create ethical use policies, review panels, and more to improve experiences and business outcomes.

Findings Part 3: There is growing recognition of data’s strategic value drives flexible, federated data governance techniques that empower everyone across the organization

The value—and sheer volume—of data has never been greater. Data isn’t just table stakes for business success in 2022: data is the business [Goe 21]. As organizations invest in innovative AI solutions and cloud-based everything, demand for self-service and data-sharing capabilities has grown alongside data privacy and usage regulations. Digital-savvy organizations embrace this paradox: A single-source of truth is essential, yet it won’t live in a single location, nor can it be managed and secured by a handful of people. Organizations must take a new approach to data governance and management that pairs flexibility and empowerment with coordinated control [Jai 19]. To innovate, compete, and keep ahead of governance and security requirements, successful organizations will adopt federated data governance techniques. Such an approach—that pairs centrally-defined governance standards with local domain authority—will enable organizations to tap into diverse areas of expertise by including more diverse users across the business. After all, relevance in our digital world hinges on getting value from data. But how? The latest Gartner CDO survey found that 72% of data and analytics leaders [who] are heavily involved or leading digital business initiatives are unsure how to build the “trusted data foundation” needed to accelerate their efforts and achieve business goals [Hei 21]. Without repeatable, scalable processes to ensure data is discoverable, secure, understood, and trusted, flexibility and innovation are mired in risk. Unless organizations rethink data governance, the dream of trusted, real-time self-service analytics will be just a dream. Successful data governance strategies have always been rooted in trust. In the future we’ll see organizations embrace a mindset shift to take a more inclusive approach to data governance and management. By inclusive, we mean systems and processes designed for the many, not just the few. We mean recognizing that IT and the business aren’t at odds when it comes to data governance and management. When the traditional holders of the data invite the business to be part of the solution, everyone can rally behind shared goals and pave the road for innovation. Give people the tools to do it themselves but manage risk with centrally controlled guardrails. For example, IT sets a governance foundation for things that impact the entire organization (such as lineage, data catalogs, standards, validation rules, metadata management, and architecture) while extending control to the business in ways appropriate for their needs. This right-sized approach allows domain experts to solve business problems in context, while enabling trust, discovery, and innovation. To infuse data governance throughout the business, data literacy is essential. Everyone must speak a common language and participate in shared governance, but—more foundationally—they must also understand data fundamentals. Focusing on transparency and discoverability will make it easier to find and discover data as organizations continue to standardize on a single place to find information so everyone can agree on what is being measured, how it’s defined, where it lives, and who owns it. Those that do this well will enable a big-picture understanding of how data flows to all corners of the business and how to maintain trust and security.


Take inventory of where you’re at— and where you want to go.

You must understand what data you’re using to understand where you’re at.

  • Ask questions and engage with people across the organization to understand what data you have, how people are using it, and how relevant it is or isn’t.
  • Ask stakeholders what they need to be successful. Lean on third-party frameworks, to benchmark your capabilities and identify strengths and gaps.

Take a partnership approach.

It starts with trust.

  • IT needs to keep tight control of some levers, but they can’t control everything, nor should they.
  • Start building trust in people and processes by upskilling business users to help them use data responsibly. Transparent processes and secure, current data go a long way, too.
  • Build upon quick wins to demonstrate the value of partnership to the broader organization.

Think federated

  • Recognize that your data strategy can’t be collocated, and you’re never going to get complete and centralized control.
  • Then take a more federated approach. Work toward a balance where you govern the amount that is required, while building partnership with the business. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Use industry-recognized frameworks to reduce friction and better understand what good looks like.


[Goe 21] Goetz: Break Through Data Governance Fatigue – A Framework For Effectiveness And Sustainability,, February 25, 2021, (access 18.03.2022)

[Hei 21] Heizenberg: Summary Translation: Predicts 2022: Data and Analytics Strategies Build Trust and Accelerate Decision Making,, December 29, 2021, (access 18.03.2022)

[Jai 19] Jain: Modern Data and Analytics Requirements Demand a Convergence of Data Management Capabilities,, September 19, 2019, (access 18.03.2022)