Do you have 100% confidence your data is reliable?
Is your data quality consistent across the entire organization?
Can the insights from your data governance support sound decision making?
Can your data analytics pave the way for an improved and personalized customer experience?
You often hear of data governance these days and that it is necessary but do you really know what that means?
To start with, we live in an era of multiple impressive and capable systems running in parallel in organizations. It then makes you wonder why despite all these cutting edge technology, it still is a struggle to get data structured in a way that provides value to the organization.
Perhaps the answer to that is the fact that data does not format itself, it does not arrange itself in a certain logical order, and it does not guide you how to use it.
Therefore, for organizations that aspire of having data that is always available, reliable, relevant, and secure, data governance strategy is a must.
Data governance in simpler terms means organizing your data in a way that it helps tie business and strategy together. It is an important enough part of the business that it can warrant the CEO´s involvement. For some, they may have specially appointed data governance officers or compliance officers, and for others the IT team oversees it.
Regardless, someone needs to be in charge and the end goal is always to have reliable and consistent data that will afford your organization support for decision-making.
Just how do you get there? Read the 5 simple and straightforward data governance best practices below.
- Decide on Data Capture Process and Storage
It is not enough for you to have invested in a self-service analytics platform like Performance Canvas Financials. Without data availability, that platform no matter how robust is pretty much useless.
Start with making sure that you have a data capture process in place to address the needs of the organization as a whole and the specific needs of each unit. Then, organize your data when it is stored so that it is not all over the place. This way data can be easily located when needed and that there is enough data to actually use.
- Harmonize data and Setup Standardized Business Rules
There is nothing more difficult that having two decision makers evaluate different sets of data and subsequently come up with different conclusions on the same problem.
For data to be useful in the organization, it must first be consistent across the entire business. Otherwise, comparisons cannot be made. Ensure that everyone in the organization have access to the same, consistent data. Harmonize departmental information across the organization, setup standardized business rules so that if there be exceptions, they are not a product of no one knows why they are exempted. Instead, exceptions are consciously decided for a good reason. Here is a complete, cloud-based FP&A tool that does exactly that – Performance Canvas Financials.
- Setup Procedures for Data Saving and Retirement
Data hoarding is a real problem. Do not waste storage for useless data that is never going to deliver any value to the business. The more data you have, the higher the vulnerabilities and the harder it is to structure them in a good way. Don´t fall victim into the ”saving this just in case” mentality.
Come up with decisions early on what types of data are important and what are not. Have procedures to avoid duplication of data and procedures for data retirement according to age or other criteria.
- Ensure that your existing tools are properly configured
Misconfiguration of systems in organizations is surprisingly rather common. There are other problems as well such as malfunctioning platforms like when a tool is wrongly applied to a database. This is a problem because reports then will be too vague and will lack clarity. It may also mean that analytics are not properly executed. Therefore, recheck your systems in the organization and make sure they are all properly configured so that data is clearly recorded, analyzed, and reported.
- Know the regulations
Gone are the days when companies can get away with data misuse. Just in May 2018, the European Union introduced European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) where companies that do not comply pay a hefty fine of 4% of their worldwide turnover or 22M USD whichever is higher.
Therefore, today more than ever it is important to know the regulations affecting data governance, to have a clear path of how to acquire data, how to store it, how to back it up, and how to protect it against threats.
Make sure you run trainings or education sessions to all your employees so that they are aware of the company´s data governance strategy.
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