Newsflash: Data Governance Is Not Just an IT Problem

Poor data can affect an organization at every level. Supply-chain management, e-commerce, enterprise systems and CRM all rely on accurate and complete data to operate at a high level.

But often, data governance strategy is perceived to be an IT tool. In reality, poor data affects every department. Poor data means missed sales opportunities, forgotten discounts for orders, inaccurate job estimates, and more.

Information as an Asset

A Gartner study estimates that poor data is costing organizations an average of just over $8 million a year, with 22 percent of respondents figuring their cost at closer to $20 million a year. This is why data governance is critical throughout an organization.

Black Oak CSO Dr. John R. Talburt explains, “Now that we are beginning to recognize that information is really a key asset and resource for an enterprise, these enterprises are asking ‘How do I manage it? How do I govern it as an asset for the entire enterprise?’ And the answer to that is data governance. That’s really what data governance is about. It’s about communication and control.”

Data Governance Best Practices

Adhering to data governance best practices can be a constant challenge due to questions around the ownership of data, the extreme size of big data repositories and inconsistencies in data types among different departments.

Productive data governance operations have data stewards that manage the data governance efforts and adjust policies and procedures on a continual basis. Implementing the data governance program requires an examination of tools, internal skills, data quality and a willingness to try new strategies.

Data Governance Strategy

The key to effective data governance is a comprehensive strategy around the people, processes and technologies involved.

  • First, start by building a team that is responsible for data quality and organizing activities.
  • Second, develop data processes that define how the data will be stored, modified, transferred, made available and locked down. One of the continuing challenges of data governance is to monitor it on a regular basis and adjust when needed.
  • Finally, the right technology is critical in an effective data governance approach.

Data Governance in Other Departments

One of the challenges of data governance, especially in large organizations, is that different stakeholders and departments might have different definitions of the same terms.

The marketing department might have an understanding of what the term “account” means, while the accounting department may use it differently. Data governance must be applied and maintained evenly and accurately in each department, or the system breaks down.

In addition, a solid data governance program is important not only to the organization itself, but to external partners. Each vendor often has its own data structure and logic, but you should not allow that to upset your data governance rules. Due to the sensitivity of the data, vendors that may need strict vetting include cloud services, marketing, HR, customer support and property management.

The Point of Data Governance

As Dr. Talburt says, “The central aspect of data governance is simply to take information, be sure that within the enterprise there is complete communication about what is available—and what can and cannot be done with it—and then [establish] policies and procedures around the use of that information, so that it’s under control within the enterprise.”

If you are designing a data governance program for your organization, touch base with our team. Let’s have a conversation about your goals and challenges. We will explain how our proprietary HiPER software has helped businesses like yours, and how we can help streamline your data governance.

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