5 Predictions for the Next Decade of Data Governance

In the 2010s, product teams gained access to unprecedented amounts of data. In the 2020s, managing that data will become the foundation to building the best products.

Customer Stories
January 24, 2020
Image of Mallory Busch
Mallory Busch
Product Marketer, dbt Labs
5 Predictions for the Next Decade of Data Governance

In the last decade, data governance has undergone a transformation. We’ve seen that self-service analytics platforms like Amplitude have fundamentally changed how teams interact with product data, their immediate teammates, and their organizations. Marketers, developers, and executives no longer need to submit a request with a data scientist or centralized analytics team to understand how a product feature performed. Today, the full team has immediate access to the insights needed to build the best product.

At the same time, the sheer amount of data that became available in the 2010s has created complications in addition to opportunities. Teams need to move fast in a competitive landscape, and they need the guidance of a data governance manager to maintain the data taxonomy, and keep up with teams rapidly iterating on the product and running concurrent experiments.

Teams need to move fast in a competitive landscape, and they need the guidance of a data governance manager to maintain the data taxonomy.

The Amplitude team can relate. By the start of 2020, Amplitude users had logged more than 23 trillion actions in our platform. We’ve seen firsthand how limitless exploration of data enables teams to identify the metrics that answer their questions. However, limitless exploration won’t make a difference without a solid foundation of data governance. You need to be able to trust that your data is accurate in order to act upon it.

Looking ahead to the next decade of data governance, the Amplitude team knows nothing is certain. But based on feedback, insights, and observations from the last decade of helping enterprise teams build their best products, we’re ready to make a few data-informed bets about what the 2020s will bring.

Prediction 1: Data Governance will be the foundation of customer experience.

By Anastasia Fullerton, Product Marketing Manager at Amplitude

In the past, the challenge product teams faced was building functional technology. It has become increasingly easier to build technology that works, so now the challenge has evolved. Product teams need to build technology that connects with customers and empowers their business to build a strong relationship with them.

Data governance is the foundation of these digital relationships. You need to understand how effectively your product connects with your customers, whether that’s through cross-platform, omni-channel, AR/VR, AI, or another channel. The only way to answer questions about customer experience at scale is with your data. It’s essentially the way a company can have a conversation with their customers at scale.

That means that data governance—and the assurance of tracking accurate and usable data—becomes your competitive differentiator in creating the best customer experiences. Your data strategy should ultimately inform your product strategy, so you need to invest in it and be thoughtful.

Prediction 2: Data governance will enable frictionless curiosity.

By Tanner McGrath, Head of Growth & Analytics at Amplitude

In the next decade, companies that master data governance will be able to accelerate through the build-measure-learn loop. Employees will be able to ask and answer questions immediately, and make quick and reliable decisions based on those answers. Over time, this decision-making process scales and improves. The companies that become best-in-class at data governance will be the same companies that enable frictionless curiosity, and glean the insights that turn a product into a disruptor.

Prediction 3: With improved data governance, traditional PM roles will look like today’s growth roles.

By Abbie Kouzmanoff, Senior Product Manager at Amplitude

The role of “growth product manager” has grown tremendously over the last five or so years, largely due to a gap many companies had at the intersection of revenue, marketing, and product/customer experience.
At many organizations, though, these roles were operating in solos, distinct from the main product team. Growth product managers had access to the tools and data they needed to make quick decisions and drive toward a business metric.

Now, however, we’re at a point where we see these growth roles have become more ubiquitous. Core product managers are starting to look more like growth product managers, and the growth function is moving further down the funnel. Data governance is needed as more teams get involved with data, instrument their products, and aim to have actionable insights. As these growth skills become more widespread, we will see an increased need for lightweight data governance.

Prediction 4: Each product team will have a dedicated role for data governance.

By Sandhya Hegde, VP of Marketing at Amplitude

In the 2020s, we will see every product team formally create a role for product data governance and management. Behavioral data is getting more complex and valuable with each passing day; it’s paramount for personalization. Making sure that this data is kept trustworthy by the team that’s closest to the customer and the product will be critical—probably even more so than having a well-documented roadmap.

Prediction 5: Data governance programs will adapt to greater organizational needs.

By John Cutler, Product Evangelist at Amplitude

The key trend I am seeing is that data governance is needing to adapt to shifting organizational structures, product development practices, and expectations in terms of self-service analytics.

It holds true that organizations tend to ship the org chart. A data governance program—designed primarily around customer acquisition (the traditional funnel), heavily siloed teams with their “own systems,” and compliance—will need to adapt if that organization shifts to a greater focus on customer lifetime value, the end-to-end experience, and meaningful insights.

Team demands from the data—in terms of trust, breadth, availability, and insights—are changing, and governance efforts will need to keep pace. We’ll see data governance follow the track of DevOps (e.g. DataOps), with an important focus on integration with product development efforts.

About the Author
Image of Mallory Busch
Mallory Busch
Product Marketer, dbt Labs
Mallory Busch formerly ran the Amplitude blog, frequently named a best blog for product managers. She also created AmpliTour, the live workshop for beginners to product analytics and 6 Clicks, the Amplitude video series. She produced the Flywheels Playbook, wrote The Product Report 2021 and produced The Product Report 2022. A former developer and journalist, Mallory's written work and coding projects have been published by TIME, Chicago Tribune, and The Texas Tribune. She graduated from Northwestern University.