Building a business-friendly approach to data governance

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It is quickly becoming imperative for organizations to feed business intelligence reports with accurate, consistent, and contextual data—data with integrity. Data management is becoming an increasingly important factor in achieving organizations data integritywhether it helps you make faster, confident decisions and cut costs, or manage risk and comply with complex rules.

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But how should organizations approach their data strategy to deliver streamlined and consistent business value, and what steps can be taken to ensure its success?

Business must start with “why”

If you are planning to implement data governance in your organization, or have started but not achieved the expected results, the first thing you should do is take a step back and ask why you are implementing it in the first place.

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Many data management programs fail either because they are deemed too complex or time-consuming by business groups, or because they lack real, documented business value. Understanding why you embark on this initiative is critical to getting the most out of your data management. And here’s the secret: it has to be paperwork.

If you don’t know what the business case for implementing data management is in your organization, you can easily get sidetracked. The “why” is what will guide you on your journey and ensure your organization gets what it needs from your data governance initiative.

Key Success Factors for Data Management Programs

The study showed that two-thirds of organizations report improved data quality as the main benefit, but there were other examples of significant added value: respondents reported overall “better data analysis and understanding” (56%), as well as other benefits. in relation to “facilitated cooperation” (52 percent) and “faster access to relevant data” (50 percent).

In addition, the existence of a data management program appears to have facilitated the implementation of more rigorous data quality measurement processes. 54% of organizations with already deployed data management systems report that they have mechanisms in place to measure the quality of their data, compared to 34% that do not. So implementing a data management strategy also provides a real opportunity for those who want to better understand their data while improving the overall measurement of key business metrics.

Business approach is critical

We have seen organizations make the mistake of embarking on a data governance path because they thought it was best practice or because it was a regulated industry requirement. Of course, these are all valid drivers, but if you’re doing it for these reasons alone, it’s highly likely that only the bare minimum will be done to mark the boxes required by your regulator.

We are seeing a significant shift in organizations increasing their investment in an enterprise-wide approach to data management to deliver high-quality, well-managed information. It is critical to bring the value of data management to the enterprise. Without an enterprise-wide approach to data management, organizations will miss countless business opportunities and face short and long term impacts.

So how should you approach data management in your business? This is a slightly more difficult question because the answer will depend on the circumstances of your organization. Every business is unique, and why your company goes into data management will differ to some extent from even your closest competitors. There is no single standard approach.

Three steps to get started

Data management expert Nicola Asham recommends the following approach:

1. Look at your corporate strategy – Consider the listed key goals and ask yourself if your data is well understood and reliable enough to achieve these goals. If the answer is no, it is clear that data management is essential to your corporate strategy.

2. Think about your data strategy – if it already exists. If so, hopefully it already includes a data management section. If this is not the case, the organization needs to reach out to stakeholders across the business and find out what data-driven initiatives are planned and why data governance is important to ensure success.

3. Look for horror stories about the quality of your data are cases where something went wrong because either the data is missing or you had poor quality data and as a result something went wrong in your organization.

“If you gather all this information, you can do some analysis to identify the drivers of data governance in your organization,” Asham said. “You’ll be able to talk to anyone, whether they’re senior stakeholders or data users themselves, and you’ll be able to articulate what benefits data governance will bring to them – and that will help you be much more successful with your data governance initiative.”

Ultimately, describing the expected results in a data management business plan demonstrates its value to the entire enterprise and increases management’s interest in obtaining the necessary funding and resources. Once a company has selected the right technologies for its data management program, it’s time to focus on building trust in business data. Developing a data integrity strategy will ultimately help a business make the confident decisions it needs to truly make a difference in the bottom line.

For more help building your own data management business case, download our eBook, Create a data management use case for getting budget and participation.

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