Why is data governance important?
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.
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?