Today’s business world is driven by data more than anything else because business is no longer primarily transacted in a brick and mortar format. Businesses are generating more and more data from various sources such as customer data, employee data, sales data, and research conducted within and outside of the business. Data has become one of the most critical assets of a successful business. Because it is such a critical asset, successful data governance is a requirement for any business today. Unfortunately most business leaders are not as familiar with the governance of data as they should be.
Many business leaders will ask the question, “What is Data Governance?” The answer is simple yet complicated. Data governance can be described as the strategy behind the use of data. Governance is simply the framework of processes and polices that govern the management of a company’s data assets. The data governance framework of a company should identify the data and information that is important to the company. It requires a consensus to be reached within the company from all stakeholders that generate and use data to improve business and real company goals. This stakeholder input is important because if they are allowed to operate within silos of their own with data, the end result would be a inefficient use of data that may put the company at liability if data is compromised. Ultimately, the goal surrounding the governance of data is to get the most value out of the information generated.
Steps to Implementing a Governance Program
Starting a program to governing the data that is generated by the business usually involved several steps. A successful program can become tangible if the following components are implemented.
1. Data Quality Requirements – These requirements will look at the condition of the data that is available and ensure that it is of good quality for data mining and research. The trustworthiness of the data will be determined.
2. Data Dictionary – The data dictionary will record and list the meaning of all data points that are within the company database. This will ensure clarity when data is both being input and assessed.
3. Roles and Responsibilities – This part of the data governance framework determines the role and responsibilities of practitioners that input, maintain, and cares for the data and systems that hold the data.
4. Metadata Creation – Metadata links technical processes to data implementation processes. It tracks data across an organization in various locations or units.
Benefits of Governance of Data
Businesses realize many benefits from implementing programs to governing and manage their data. These benefits can be far reaching and guide the future growth of the company or organization. They include:
1. Decreasing costs – When companies mine their data successfully, they are able to decrease costs by finding inefficiencies and correcting them. Analyzing data can provide companies with ways to streamline processes and procedures and thus decrease expenses.
2. Increase revenues – When expenses and costs are decreased, revenues usually increase. Mining data and protecting it accordingly usually results in an organization being more profitable and even discovering new profit centers.
3. Ensures compliance with regulations and laws – Businesses have a legal obligation to protect the personal identity and information of customers. Having a successful program in place ensures companies are compliant with applicable laws in this area. A breach of data could be detrimental to a company. Companies should ensure privacy of consumers is at the forefront of any policy.
For a program to be successful, all stakeholders in a company must collaborate and develop actionable goals. When this is done right, it provides more efficient processes. This will, in turn, lead to customer trust that their data is being protected and used in a way that is ultimately beneficial to everyone.