Data Governance and Big Data: Why Data Governance is Important

In the previous installment, we introduced Data Management and Governance. In this second post of our series, we will explore why data management and governance is important for marketing professionals and how to tell when you’re ready to implement a data governance framework.
Welcome to the second post in our multi-part series all about data management and data governance! In this post, we help marketers identify why and when they need to begin thinking about a data governance program.

Why is data governance important?
The basics.

Many companies want to be “data-driven,” and in their rush to make organizational changes toward this aim, they overlook critical elements. The first of these is paying attention to the real value of data. Before you roll your eyes like an eighth-grader, consider these points that your competition likely hasn’t paid much attention to:

  • Data has value. By this I mean both that your company pays a price for data and that data provides a critical value for the ongoingness and success of your organization.
  • Because of its value, data is an asset that needs to be managed and protected. It makes sense that a company should put time and resources into ensuring the accessibility, quality, and safety of its assets.
  • Data is foundational to decision-making. It can improve your operations, drive new revenue opportunities, and help you tell your company’s story. If your company isn’t utilizing data to inform its business decisions, it will fail to transform and compete. Conversely, companies that use data to their advantage experience increasing opportunities for success.
  • Over time, the number of analytics sources and subjects will increase, and so will the amount of data your company needs to manage. So a company at the beginning of their data transformation totally has a need for data governance and management, but a company that’s established a data-driven culture has even more need for these strategic solutions. That’s because we use data to get data but not as a means of simple accumulation, rather, we get data as a means of strategic utility.
  • As the amount of data increases, so does the complexity of managing it all. Ideally, data management and governance help establish procedures that can scale as a company’s needs grow. But if a company has experienced growth without having proper management and governance in place, the best time to invest in these programs is as soon as possible.

Who needs a data governance framework?

Short answer: any organization that’s accumulating data. The word cloud below illustrates the range of data types that could be piling up in your organization.

 For marketing, data governance includes governing all these data sources

Like your laundry, all this data needs to be cleaned (ETL/ELT), touched, managed, and taken off the darn kitchen table. If an organization wants to capitalize on the value of collecting data, it should first establish a data governance framework.

When is an organization ready for a data governance plan?

If you’ve considered any of these questions, your business might be ready for a data governance plan:

  • Why don’t we have naming conventions and a taxonomy?
  • What are the definitions of our metrics/dimensions, and why are they not readily available?
  • Do I need to be concerned about PII/PHI information and privacy implications?
  • What security protections do we have on our valuable data?
  • Can we trust this data, and can we have a single source of truth?

Likewise, if you’re asking yourself these questions about your business intelligence platform, it might be time to think about maturing your data governance:

  • How engaged are our Platform users?
  • Are they using the platform as was intended?
  • What can we do to engage and educate the platform users?

Up next: Steps for implementing a data governance framework

If you understand why data governance is essential. and you’re hip to some distinctions between a data strategy, data governance, and data management, then you’re probably ready to begin implementing a data governance framework. Also, if your organization is struggling with naming conventions, inconsistent dimensions, security and access issues, or data quality, it’s high time to implement a data governance plan! In our next post, we’ll cover five steps to get started.

In the meantime, put our expertise to work! Reach out today to build a data governance strategy that will set you apart.

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