Data is the new oil — and with good reason. In fact, data has been called “the world’s most valuable resource.”
That may sound like a bold statement, but it all makes sense once you consider what data actually is: information that can be used to make better decisions. And as our lives have become more digitized, we generate more and more of this resource every day.
As data continues to flow into businesses, the importance of data governance becomes increasingly clear. After all, as valuable as your data is to your business, not having a complete understanding of what you have — and managing it accordingly — can be a huge liability.
Data governance is the practice of ensuring that your data is managed in a way that meets the specific needs of your business. This can include anything from developing a process for collecting and tracking data to creating rules for how data can be used and by whom.
Sound complicated? It doesn’t have to be. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the basics of data governance and how using modern BI tools like Domo can make implementing a data governance strategy simple and straightforward.
What is data governance?
Simply put, data governance is the practice of ensuring that your data is managed in a way that meets the specific needs of your business.
This can include anything from developing a process for collecting and tracking data to creating rules for how data can be used and by whom. For example, you may want to create rules that prohibit certain employees from accessing certain data sets.
Data governance is important because it helps you to:
Understand what data you have and how it’s being used
Prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data
Protect your data from accidental or intentional destruction
Ensure compliance with regulations
Data governance is really just an extension of data management. However, the difference is that data governance extends into how employees use and interact with your organization’s data.
Put simply, data governance ensures that all the information in your business is managed correctly and used responsibly to drive value for your organization.
A guide to data governance
Now that you have a basic understanding of data governance, let’s look at how you can set up your own data governance strategy.
1. Define your business objectives
Before you can start governing your data, you first need to understand what you’re trying to achieve. Data governance needs to be driven by your business objectives.
Start by defining the different types of data (e.g., customer, product, financial) that you have in your organization and how it’s being used today. Domo uses a tagging system to make it easy for you to categorize your data.
Doing so will help you understand where potential risks may exist, such as unauthorized access or accidental loss of sensitive information.
2. Set up processes for collecting and managing your data
After you’ve defined the different types of data in your organization, it’s essential to establish mechanisms for how that data is created, accessed, stored, secured, and used. Some examples may include:
Who can access what?
How is data collected and tracked?
How should data be secured?
What are the rules for using data?
How are data sources certified as current and accurate?
3. Train your employees on data governance best practices
One of the most important aspects of data governance is ensuring that your employees understand how to use and interact with your data responsibly.
This means training your employees on the basics of data governance and providing them with regular updates on any changes to the governance strategy. It is also important to take advantage of the features within modern BI platforms like Domo to ensure data governance best practices are being adhered to.
4. Audit your data regularly
The best way to ensure that your data is being managed effectively is to audit it regularly. This involves assessing how well your processes are working and identifying areas where you can improve.
5. Monitor your data for compliance with regulations
Many industries have regulatory requirements governing how data must be collected, stored, and used.
As a business, it’s essential to ensure that you are compliant with all applicable regulations. Data governance can help you do this by providing a framework for managing your data responsibly.
So, now that you know what data governance is and how to establish your own strategy, let’s take a look at some of the common pitfalls organizations face when managing their data assets.
The biggest challenges organizations face with data governance
It should be noted that data governance doesn’t refer solely to managing your company’s internal data. Rather, it also governs how to manage any external information that your organization shares with its partners and suppliers.
Unfortunately, many organizations struggle when trying to establish a solid foundation for managing their data assets. This can lead to a number of challenges, including:
1. Defining and documenting data governance processes
One of the biggest challenges with data governance is getting all stakeholders on board and agreeing to follow common processes. This can be difficult when different parts of the organization have different agendas and priorities.
2. Implementing and enforcing data governance processes
Once you have established your data governance processes, the next challenge is getting everyone to actually follow them. This can be difficult when employees are used to working in a certain way and are resistant to change.
3. Measuring the effectiveness of data governance processes
Another challenge is determining whether or not your data governance processes are effective.
In order to know this, you need a way of measuring whether or not your processes are working. This requires identifying the metrics you’ll be using to measure these processes and establishing ways for collecting and tracking data related to them. DomoStats is an out-of-the-box solution that can help you get started on what to measure and how.
Make data governance a high priority
As you can see, data governance can be quite complex and challenging. However, it’s an essential part of any successful business strategy that aims to build a better customer experience and grow your bottom line.
By investing in well-thought-out data management processes and a modern BI platform like Domo, you will increase the value of your company’s information assets and avoid many of the common pitfalls that organizations face.
So, make data governance a high priority for your organization and ensure that you have the right team and tools in place to manage your data assets effectively.
Check out some related resources:
Data Never Sleeps 8.0
Eckerson Webinar: The Rise of Unified Data and Analytics Platforms -- A Case for Convergence
How dark data is hurting your business
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