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Simplify Data Governance

3 Really Helpful Ways to Simplify Data Governance

Do you have confidence in your organisation’s data? You know the importance of business intelligence. Without it you cannot possibly manage profitability or cashflow; take advantage of golden sales and marketing opportunities, develop winning strategies or make critical decisions. What’s more, you will never know if you are meeting your targets or, for that matter, what is going on in your business.

But business intelligence is nothing without precision quality, real time data. And to lay your hands on that data, you need far more than a data management system. You need a data governance framework.

What is data governance?

Data governance is one of the most important business strategies you’ll ever create. It is supported by policy and defined procedures and backed by a plan to execute those procedures, all managed by a dedicated governing team.

A data governance strategy sets the parameters for the management, security and use of data. It develops processes for rectifying data related issues, and it puts businesses in a position to make critical decisions based on accurate and well-managed information. It is, in short, the supporting framework that protects, assimilates and delivers the business intelligence you need to succeed.

Why is data governance important?

A streamlined data governance strategy will boost the value of your organisation’s data by setting processes for assimilating and delivering it in a comprehensible and consistent format, in real time.

Data governance protects data, reputation and the organisation itself by setting company-wide guidelines on data handling and security. Without a strategy, the costly risk of non-compliance with industry regulations becomes very real.

The processes set down by a data governance policy can help to effectively manage everything from everyday administration to workflow. What’s more, data governance can bring valuable interdepartmental alignment by rationalising the capture of data, which will lead to reduced costs.

How to implement a data governance strategy?

There is no denying that the task of implementing a data governance strategy is far from a straightforward one. You’ll need to take in everything from compliance and security through to integration, usage accessibility and privacy and everything in between, setting numerous policies and processes, educating the entire organisation and embedding a data governance culture.

Whitepapers on the subject abound. I’m not going to start attempting to better the advice that is already out there, but what I can do is present to you a few ways of making the whole process just a little bit more simplified; three key things to consider when you are putting together your strategy so that you find it easier to realise your goal of achieving the best possible value from your data.

1. People

Before you start setting any policies or procedures, you’ll need to ascertain precisely who is going to be responsible for their implementation and management.

Assigning roles and responsibilities is one of the most important elements of your data governance strategy because without the right people taking charge of it and ensuring it is followed, the strategy will be worthless.

Your data governance team will need to be dedicated to enforcing data quality control organisation wide, and must be prepared to take full responsibility for data governance. They will be tactical thinkers, team players and committed to ensuring your organisation thrives through data management excellence.

So, get the right people on board from the outset, and your job in creating the data governance strategy will start to become a lot more straightforward early on.

2. Process

Your data governance policies and procedures will traverse each and every corner of your business. There will be policies for each department and, as already mentioned, for every area of data management such as security, privacy and accessibility.

The piece of advice I’m going to share here that will simplify your job of setting up your data governance strategy is to make sure that the policies and procedures you create are installed at the point of data capture. This will give you the opportunity to validate data at the earliest point so that its accuracy and quality can be verified. Without this early intervention, you will be starting on the back foot. How can you govern data down the line if it isn’t correct from the start?

So begin by ascertaining precisely what data comes in from where, and then set down rules as to how it should be handled and by whom.

3. Platform

Data is only ever of any value if it can be easily accessed and understood. As you start to look at where your data comes from, you will soon realise that across your organisation, there are numerous tools and processes in operation when it comes to data collection and handling. This is where things start to get messy, and where data value can be lost.

Individual tools mean scattered information. And scattered information is no use whatsoever as business intelligence. It is also a major business risk because it is way too chaotic to closely manage.

So, use technology to your advantage. Think holistically, and look for a platform that channels in ALL your data sets from ALL your departments and then presents it in a single cohesive view ready for drilling down and analysing in depth.

With all your data centralised in one place, you can be certain that it is managed in line with your data governance policy in all respects. That means privacy, consistency, security and regulatory compliance… everything that forms part of your strategy will be taken care of courtesy of an inclusive, intelligent technology platform.

Summing up

Creating a data governance strategy is a vital task, but no one claims it is an easy task. Appointing the right people and setting processes that ensure data quality at its point of entry will ease the journey, and using technology to your advantage to remove the risk of chaotic scattered data will too.

If you are seeking a technology platform solution that will bring consistency to your data governance strategy, it’s something I can help you with. If you’re interested please send me a message and we can chat.

First published: 14th February 2009 | Author: Anthony Kirrane.
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