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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

In 1990, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill faced a crisis.  After spending millions of dollars to transform their core systems, failure ensued.  The root cause of that failure was not the system's capability, implementation approach, or methodology.  Failure and the multi-million dollar spend had occurred for want of consensus on access and use of data across the university.  Erroneous or incomplete data sets made use of modern architectures and systems impressible.


Russell was engaged to author and establish a solid Data Governance Policy establishing a clear definition of data ownership, data governance, care, and custody of UNC’s data.  This endeavor necessitated a multi-week interview process with all individuals and entities within the university and beyond who used, owned, and managed data consumed and used by the university, its systems, and those relying upon data resources to make decisions, manage operations, and conduct business for the university.  Our principal conducted in-depth interviews across the campus and beyond and went on to author UNC’s Data Governance Policy and Data Steward’s Handbook.  He then presented these documents to Deans and UNC’s most senior leadership who unanimously adopted the policies and operations protocols articulated in both the policy and handbook.  Though addendums and revisions have been made over the years, the foundational principles and operational techniques established in those documents remain in service to this day, permitting the university to seamlessly harvest, protect, access, and use its wealth of data across all entities.

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