Data Governance: Why Spreadsheets and File Shares Are Not Enough

The Future of Data Management Demands a New Paradigm

Mike OrtmannOctober 31, 2018

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Today, it’s common knowledge that data governance is essential to set guidelines, policies and processes to streamline data management so that it can be deployed for strategic decision-making and quantifying data quality. When data governance is executed correctly, data consumers are educated and empowered to quickly locate, access and prepare the right data sources to be analyzed and acted upon, and they’re assured that the quality of those data assets are maintained.

Organizations typically rely heavily on spreadsheets, file shares, wikis, etc. to document information about their data.  Within the organization, the IT department is often tasked with documenting and maintaining these spreadsheets and other resources. As organizations continue to get inundated with data, they realize two things. First, this is an unsustainable model of data management. Spreadsheets and file shares are ill-equipped to handle such large amounts of data, and keeping them up to date is a losing battle. Second, business users have a tough time leveraging their data because they don’t understand the technical language IT uses when documenting information.

Instead, organizations must adapt and take an alternative approach to data governance. An approach that is not only sustainable, but also bridges the business and IT divide to make data consumable and usable for everyone in the organization.

Building Enterprise Collaboration to Streamline Data Management

 Making data readily available and increasing the understanding of data to serve the needs of the entire organization requires an enterprise approach to data governance. By engaging different departments and clearly defining roles and responsibilities among data owners, users and stewards, organizations can ensure both business and IT teams have a full understanding of their data assets.

When different teams work together to define and classify data, any ambiguity faced by business users interpreting data can be eliminated. Business users can then rely on data to formulate successful business strategies and IT can leverage data from an operational oversight perspective.

Still, many organizations feel challenged by their current data governance approach because they don’t have the right tools to help foster collaboration. Instead, they depend on spreadsheets and file shares deployed haphazardly, rather than executing a comprehensive data governance strategy.

Ditching the Spreadsheets and File Shares

A collaborative data governance approach requires a solution suite that delivers a complete 360-degree view of an organization’s data landscape, from data availability, its owner/steward, lineage and usage, to its associated definitions, synonyms and business attributes. It should allow business users to easily define, track and manage all aspects of their data assets, giving them confidence in every business decision they make.

The solution suite should promote a community approach to data governance and bridge the business to technical divide by translating IT’s technical lingo into easy-to-understand terms. By bridging this divide, collaboration can build trust among data producers, enablers, and consumers by clearly defining ownership and accountability for every data asset in the organization. All types of users will be able to answer pertinent questions about data, such as, “How is it used?” “What is the definition?” “What is the data’s quality?”

In addition, the solution suite should feature high-volume data quality checks to verify the quality of data and ensure continued trust among business users. It should also leverage analytics capabilities and apply machine learning algorithms for self-learning to continuously improve data quality across the data supply chain.

By ditching the spreadsheets and adopting the right solution suite combined with the right approach, organizations can ensure successful data governance and take maximum advantage of their data.

 If you would like to learn more about data governance, download the data sheet below.

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