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4 Tips for Data Governance Mastery

By Eitan Bremler
data governance

Your company probably has data that exists within internal systems (CRM, ERP, etc) as well as external systems that are outside of your control (i.e. weather, social media, etc.). If this disparate data leads you to question the quality of your data, you’re not alone. In a recent survey by Experian, 91% of businesses said they experience data errors. On top of that, almost 25% of businesses in the U.S. believe their data is inaccurate.

IoT: Adding To the Complexity

By 2020, an expected 1.7 MB of new data will be created every second for every person on the planet. More data was created within the last two years, than has been created in the history of time combined.

With this rapid growth of data, organizations need to have data governance plans in place for the oncoming flood of data. The companies that don’t properly plan for the internet of things (IoT) will end up putting their reputation and brand at risk as they expose themselves to data loss, security breaches, lost productivity, and missed business opportunities.

While companies are pulling big data from more locations and using it for real-time analytics and other purposes, they need to clean and analyze this data more efficiently than ever. When you get to this point, governing your data becomes critical to your organization, as it thoroughly covers the availability, integrity, security, and usability of data.

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According to an article in CMO, “The growing need for data governance is resulting in some companies completely rethinking their operations. Organizations that are leading the charge in this field have even gone so far as to build out exclusive teams, led by chief data officers.”

The Benefits of Governing Your Data

To make sure that your data is available, secure, usable, and authentic, you must have buy-in from management. To do this, you should create a business case using the 4 tips that highlight the true benefits of proper data governance:

  • Improved security and reduced risk
  • Improved quality of data
  • Decreased operational cost
  • Compliance with government agencies
  • Standardized processes

Understand that this process takes time, but the results are worth it - Here are 4 Tips for Data Governance Mastery:

1. Keep the “Big Picture” In Mind

How is the data in multiple departments connected and how does that data need to be sharedHow does inefficiency in one department affect the efficiancy in another department? Do you have tools in place that handle data preparation?

2. Become a Strategic Leader

While it’s important that you have buy-in from upper management, it’s critical to translate their company vision and goals to each department. As the liaison that will work between upper management and each department, you must ensure everyone has access to the data they need in an efficient manner. Being a leader in this specialty requires that you reduce risk to the organization and to improve productivity and financial goals of management.

3. Breakdown Data Silos

Part of governing your data is building up relationships between different departments within an organization. Some of these departments may have their own software and databases which will need to be incorporated into your governance plan. Not only will this improve your plan, it will also improve communication between departments and allow you to break down their data silos so that everyone can have access to the data they need. For example, how can the data from HR help payroll, to do their job better?

Also, how can the data be managed to only allow access to the people who need it?

4. Get Everyone Involved

In order to be successful at governing your data, everyone in the company needs to be involved in learning all of the new processes. The first step is to help users understand how critical data governance is to the organization and how the data they touch affects everyone.

By keeping the big picture in mind, becoming a leader, breaking down data silos, and getting everyone involved, you are well on your way to mastering data governance.

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Editor's Note: This post was originally published in December 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

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