Why Business Leaders Should Prioritize Data Governance

In recent times, the world of analytics and data have grown considerably and expected to evolve further at an unprecedented pace in the coming days as well. There are no two ways about it—digital innovation is making its presence felt across industries and lending a helping hand to organizations needing to use data as a competitive advantage. Data growth is unstoppable and when it comes to structure and volume, data governance becomes necessary.

Data governance: essential in a modern boardroom

Data security and utility is a growing topic of discussion across global businesses. C-suites understand the value of data and importance in responsibly managing it across the organization. For these reasons, proper data governance strategies and tools are being prioritized worldwide.

Keeping in mind that smart growth of an organization’s digital wealth is dependent upon successful data governance.

Understanding Data Governance

Think of it as is a four-way framework that includes:
– applicability,
– availability
– integrity, and
– security

Data governance includes a specific set of processes the business stakeholders leverage to proper data management and protection. Further, data governance streamlines coordination of technology, individuals, and processes, increasing the value of data in a business. It plays the role of a bridge between the IT division and the organizations for initiatives and decisions. Although people, process and technology stand at the heart of effective data governance, technology is an “enabler” not a must-have for data governance.

Implement data governance as a disciplined workflow within the business. Without discipline, data is not a valuable commodity. The goal of a successful data governance program is to ensure companies have trustworthy and constant data sets to review performance and improve management decisions.

Why Data Governance is Needed

Everyone can benefit from a sound data governance program. A well-thought-out data governance initiative that meets corporate norms and manages data-related risk without fail works in favor of the business.

Here are some reasons organizations should prioritize data governance across their enterprise:

Boost data enrichment

At some point, all organizations face concerns related to data quality. Only a few of them are equipped and capable of resolving data quality issues. The presence of effective data governance can add that capability sufficiently to handle these issues and ensure those errors don’t happen in the future. Proper data governance ensures data is complete, accurate, timely, and consistently maintaining compliance norms.

Guard important enterprise data

For any organization that handles sensitive client data and faces a constant threat of data loss or data breach, data governance can do wonders. Protecting important business and client information with policies that do not violate data privacy norms are reinforced with proper data governance.

Reprocess old business data

Nowadays, data growth happens at an uninterrupted pace. Although new data tends to replace the old data, it does not mean the historical data or its significance is lost in that process. A business dependent on data may need the old data at some point, so it should store the data in an accessible format. Ensuring systematic data management allows easy preservation of key business data while supporting data reuse.

Greater insight into data analytics

Efficient data governance can capture business data in a manner that it can be leveraged from the analytics point of view as well. When organizations store data in the right format, businesses can better measure performance based on analytics. From a management perspective, improved analytics results in better data reporting, which, in turn, eventually leads to well thought out decisions.

Lower operational cost

With data governance, duplication of efforts don’t happen and errors in the database are curtailed. Moreover, data governance ensures that an organization clearly defines its core data along with the rules governing that core data. When a business decides to develop a data governance plan, it allows itself to bring all the stakeholders together, which is an effective approach to improve operational efficiency.

Organize unstructured data

The absence of adequate governance tools for unstructured data can pose security threats. Without the use of technology solutions, monitoring unstructured data can be a difficult business challenge to manage.

Regulatory compliance is an important factor to consider with unstructured data. As more people are becoming aware of the use of personal data by businesses, governments around the globe are taking steps to ensure that organizations are adequately storing, protecting and using it according to the way their customers direct it to be.

Let’s look at this related to the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that came into effect last year. The data privacy act allows European citizens to choose “right to be forgotten” which empowers residents to request that all of their data be deleted from the business database. In that scenario, when a business has unstructured data, the customer’s data may not be easy to identify, preventing proper processing, putting the business at risk to hefty fines.

Leveraging Data Governance of C-Suite

Prioritizing data governance practices can help C-suite better understand loopholes within an organization and employ preventive measures to curtail them. Here are some of the ways C-suite can leverage data governance principles:

Decide on a Strategy

Prioritizing organizational focus with a fundamentally strong strategy is a key responsibility for management. Data utilization through robust data governance practices can be useful in developing the strategy.

Leveraging data governance to link business strategies to high-level business targets is a practical first step. Strategies that are devoid of vision or not supported by metrics don’t work in the long run. A clear link between business decisions and data that drives them can positively impact business strategy.

Proper data governance ensures data utilization policies are well-communicated, adequately handled, measured, and consistently interpreted across an organization.

Propel data-focused culture across the organization

Most often, an organization’s culture sets the tone for how individuals handle work and conduct business. Data-focused businesses stress the importance of decisions based on data to avoid issues of appropriateness and accuracy.

Leverage data governance to make data-focused decisions by incorporating it into the company culture. The C-suite must own its role in data governance and direct others to do the same. Highlight the link between data and business outcomes, including how the use of data impacts KPIs.

Drive growth and implement organizational changes

Simplification of data gathering and reporting processes allow a business to be flexible toward growth and various potential business status changes like restructuring, mergers, buyouts.

Effective capital distribution

A key role of the C-suite is to decide where and how to distribute funds. With sound data governance practices in place, management can support their decisions based on reports and data handling instead of resorting to “hit or miss” methods. Data governance largely puts the guessing work out of the equation.

Data governance can lend a helping hand to CEOs setting out to attain organizational targets. If you are CEO, give the green light to those initiatives that have the potential to excel and focus on goal-driven initiatives using data governance.

How to implement a data governance framework

Many C-level executives are in favor of contracting professional services with technology tools to survey data and its usage, discover the weak points, and devise strategies using best practices and policies. Although the initiation point of data governance can vary from one organization to another, it usually starts with data quality and progresses through data lifecycle management.

Conclusion

Starting a reliable data governance strategy doesn’t need to burden C-suite. Reviewing your company’s present state should be your first step while considering your overall goals. Considering data governance market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 21% by 2025, it is clearly an area businesses are investing in and further justifies why your organization should prioritize it as well.

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