In today’s increasingly competitive business environment, organizations need to implement and execute data governance strategies with a business focus, with the goal of not only cleaning up their data, but also creating a competitive advantage to stay afloat in the digital age. Data governance is critical to increasing the understanding of data so that it serves the needs of everyone within an organization, to empower and enable appropriate business decisions. But the dangerous trifecta of limited resources, budget, and buy-in often make decisions regarding what tools to use and where to start a daunting task.
To functionalize a data governance program, organizations usually appoint a Chief Data Officer (CDO). This is a senior level executive who is responsible for oversight of all data governance efforts, including assurance that only high-quality data is utilized for analytics across the entire enterprise. The position typically reports directly to the CEO, and also acts as chief data evangelist, encouraging data utilization across the entire enterprise. However, organizations often have budget constraints, and many cannot afford an additional C-suite executive to assume these duties.
When organizations don’t appoint a CDO or have an experienced data evangelist leading their data management efforts, employees don’t know where to start. Their attempts to launch a data governance program typically begin with basic information gathering and efforts to document business terms, reports, and other data details from across the organization using tools like spreadsheets and wikis. However, this approach often results in a mess of random tools that produce data resources that are disorganized, isolated, and consistently outdated.
This approach to data governance isn’t scalable, and it certainly isn’t sustainable. It’s the business equivalent of treading water. It may keep you afloat for a minute, a few hours, or even a day, but then you won’t move forward, and eventually, you will run out of energy and drown. Managing data governance efforts in spreadsheets might work for a few weeks or months, but the spreadsheets quickly grow stale and the program stalls.
Fortunately, organizations need not fear that an absence of a CDO will lead to data governance failure. While CDOs can provide the strategy and structure that produce successful data governance initiatives, organizations can also use an enterprise solution suite as a data governance lifeline to jump-start data governance efforts. A solution suite that won’t break the budget and will help organizations build toward long-term data governance success.
The goal of data governance is to simplify the user experience with data, and empower all users to understand and leverage their data as an enterprise asset. Successful data governance requires an all-inclusive solution suite to maximize both the organization’s data quality and the insights that data can provide. The solution suite should include a multitude of capabilities that work in conjunction with one another to avoid a convoluted mess of disparate spreadsheets and wikis.
The solution suite should include data governance capabilities to organize and visualize crucial details of an organization’s data assets from business terms to reports. The result is a comprehensive view of their data landscape, allowing users to easily define and understand data and associated business terms, quickly track data lineage, and efficiently manage all aspects of their data assets.
In addition, the solution suite should include data quality capabilities to conduct data integrity checks such as data profiling, consistency, conformity, completeness, timeliness, and reconciliations. These checks can assess the impact upon data quality when changes to business terms are made, to ensure persistent trust among data users. The solution suite should also layer in analytics capabilities and apply machine learning algorithms for self-learning to monitor and improve data integrity.
The solution should facilitate a broad understanding of an organization’s data landscape, enabling data owners, stewards, and business users to effectively manage, share, and utilize data to empower business decisions and increase revenue. When data users can track every step their data takes through the data supply chain, from a source through reporting, it builds trust in data quality and confidence in their data knowledge. Ultimately, organizations increase data utilization and foster better business insights, resulting in a competitive advantage without hiring an expensive CDO.
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