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Data is something we usually take for granted. However, over the last five years we have realised data is a vital part of any business. It is the source from which your business operates and it can predict all manner of business outcomes.

From accurate data many things can be ascertained;

Business Roadmap
The direction that the business is heading can be planned; Do they change any loyal schemes? Do they change any product lines? Do they make their customer interaction easier? Do they plan a digital transformation?

Marketing strategy
Insights into the customers spending trends can influence the marketing strategy; Do they change their advertising campaigns? Do they market towards different age groups? Do they develop new products to cater to specific customer needs?

Obviously, the importance of data is clear, therefore the care a business takes in ensuring the right processes are in place for consistent and clean data are extremely important.

So, what is data governance?
Data governance is a concept surrounding the lifecycle of data and the maintaining of its quality throughout. It focuses on key areas including; availability, usability, consistency, data integrity and data security. It also includes the implementing of standard processes in order to sustain this high quality.

Data Governance often includes other concepts such as Data Stewardship, Data Quality, and others to help an enterprise gain better control over its data assets, including methods, technologies, and behaviours around the proper management of data.

Why does your business need data governance?
Data Governance is important for many reasons, 2 of which are;

Money – unclean data and duplicates causes wasted time. Calling customers twice, mailing customers multiple times, working out discrepancies relating to double-ups. All of these things take time and this is time that didn’t need to be used had the data been clean.

Security -if you have dirty, unstructured data clogging your database, how can you quickly tell when something goes wrong and how can you efficiently monitor what data is at risk. Good data governance tools and practices make it easier to monitor what is happening across your database, and will make it easier to see what areas may be at risk.

This importance comes to the forefront when you are implementing a new IT system. Obviously, it has always been important, but (unfortunately) when there is a project commencing, all data issues are highlighted due to the focus on data at this time is often the point where companies analyse their data closely and realise that years of bad data habits are now catching up with them.

This leads to more challenges as they move forward with their project such as unclean data, multiple entries, useless data, or useful data in the wrong place. All of these data mishaps make for a problematic project, not to mention a less efficient business.

Why data governance is for the long term
Data Governance isn’t just a once off tool or framework that you implement and leave alone. For example, you can’t go on a healthy diet for 6 months, see results and then start eating cake again. It just doesn’t work that way. It must be ingrained into the business, a constant framework that improves the efficiency of the business from year to year until it becomes par for the course.

How to implement Data Governance
Introducing Data Governance into your business can be a daunting task. The name itself implies rule following, red tape, and (god forbid!) process. This is why it’s not the easiest sell when I.T. want to introduce it to the business. Strong change management and communication can control expectations and make this process a whole lot easier.

Data Governance is not a new concept, but only recently there has been a push for it to be commonplace. There is also the realisation of the importance of governance being an ongoing process. It’s vital for companies to be well across Data Governance for day to day running of their business. It will ensure a solid foundation for future projects, greater productivity, better analytics, and a happier business in general.

If you have any questions about Data Governance or would like a topic discussed on our blog please feel free to comment below.