Book Review: Non-Invasive Data Governance: The Path of Least Resistance and Greatest Success

January 10, 2021

by Patricia C. Franks

It’s (finally) 2021—do you know where your data is?  In the early days of the pandemic, this was a question that surely crossed the minds of most employees who needed access to data to perform their work.

While it’s natural to look for the latest publication on a topic to help us deal with the current situation, the strategy shared Robert S. Seiner in 2014 in his seminal work, Non-Invasive Data Governance, is more relevant than ever. This book is included on a reading list for those preparing for the Certified Information Governance Officer exam. Because it was one of the shortest works on the list at 146 pages, I read it first. I am so glad I did!

Seiner, President and Principal of KIK Consulting & Educational Services, has been the publisher of The Data Administration Newsletter ( since 1997. He is a recognized industry thought-leader who is known for his unique approach to implementing data governance.

Seiner’s Data Bill of “Rights” succinctly explains the right employees have to high quality data that enables them to perform their duties—this is true whether work is being conducted on premises or remotely from a home office. But, according to Seiner, data governance can only occur by:

  • Getting the Right People,
  • Involved at the Right Time,
  • In the Right Way,
  • To make the Right Decision, and
  • Leading to the Right solution.

The practical advice to implement a Non-Invasive Data Governance program offered throughout this book can help any organization govern its data regardless of the prevailing environment.

Seiner contends data governance strategy MUST NOT introduce new processes or methods but should be applied to existing policies, standard operating procedures, practices, and methodologies. To gain support for a data governance program and strategy, Seiner suggests articulating to business sponsors what the organization CANNOT DO because the way data they currently manage data will not allow it.

Among the useful tools presented is a diagram illustrating a non-invasive operating model of roles and responsibilities for data governance and a data governance activity matrix.

While some readers may desire more in-depth coverage on the topic of data governance, Non-invasive Data Governance quickly introduces the basic concepts of data governance and the value of a data governance strategy to the organization from a management perspective.

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