The volume of data generated by an organization related to all aspects of business holds the key to its success and a number of enterprises are hiring data governance services for the purpose. The identification of the most pertinent and important information, besides the creation of a system for its management, analysis, and safety to ensure better efficiency of a corporation are the key objectives behind the creation of a data governance programme at an enterprise. A dedicated team of professionals needs to be formed to carry out the initiative and a few valuable suggestions put forth by data governance consulting firms are being presented here for the benefit of individuals working in the field.
1. Make The Executive Leadership A Part Of The Data Strategy
The most important decision- making body in any organization is the executive leadership positioned right at the top of the company hierarchy. Generally, the implementation is left to the senior and middle- level executives but the efforts of these individuals will bear fruit only if the executive leadership personnel are a part of the overall data strategy. It is usually seen that the top management involves itself in such activities only during critical transactions like mergers & acquisitions or for compliance of government regulations. For the data governance initiative to attain its objective of helping the organization achieve optimum efficiency, it is imperative that the top leadership takes an active interest in it at all times.
It becomes necessary for the data governance consulting agency hired for the job to impress upon the executives the importance of bringing their decision- making skills to the field. They can be persuaded by showing actual case studies where real organizations, preferably the company’s competitors, benefited from the active participation of the leaders. Educating them about the real worth of data in providing key strategic inputs to sales and marketing teams who can then create programmes accordingly or to demonstrate to them using examples how the information generated by the enterprise can be utilized for improving the efficiency of various operational processes. Convincing the management that data management initiatives are stepwise processes which see a gradual increase in the maturity levels with the passage of time and completion of the various stages, will also be beneficial.
2. Assign Data Ownership To Create An Efficient Hierarchy
Once the executive leadership understands the value of becoming a part of the strategy, a comprehensive roadmap must be created for the enterprise to incorporate data governance into its corporate structure. The next step that needs to be undertaken is the assigning of the data ownership and to create a hierarchy for the management of information and its flow within the company. The individuals saddled with the duty of ownership in each division of a corporation are called data stewards. These individuals are responsible for the framing and documentation of guidelines explicitly stating the definition of the most relevant data, its transformation, access, and usage.
Extreme caution must be exercised while selecting the individuals for this job as they will be deciding the type of information which needs to be selected and if the chosen data is of poor quality, then the whole enterprise will suffer because of it. Instead of hiring an outsider, a trustworthy and efficient staff member, who is already handling and using the information generated by the company, must be selected. It is the duty of data governance consulting firms hired by the company to provide proper training to all the chosen data stewards so that they understand their role perfectly. Besides these, data custodians must also be appointed who will be responsible for the safety, storage and the transfer of data assets.
3. Define Standards And Policies For Everyone To Follow
The first step that the newly- formed data governance team must take is to frame the standards and policies that all the other staff members will follow. Each data asset must be properly defined besides the set of allowed values and restrictions on each data element. There are various pieces of information that can be named, described or input in more than one ways which necessitate the presence of a standardized procedure which ensures consistency in the collection of data and its further usage. A failure to devise such consistent standard procedures will result in the unsuccessful integration of data in the enterprise.
The governance team and the data stewards specifically must also chart an effective workflow plan for the data starting from the identification of all possible entry points and the channels through which it will pass to the authorized personnel. Valuable information can enter from multiple points like the retail sale counter, mobile application or a customer executive and each one must be identified and listed so that not even a single detail which can prove useful is missed.
4. Establish Measurements To Ensure Data Quality
The quality of the collected and generated data must be assessed so that the ensuing analysis provides useful results. It can be done by establishing quantitative as well as qualitative metrics against which all information must be checked to ensure it is of sound nature. Quantitative metrics are direct measurements such as completeness which ensures that the information is not missing any crucial part e.g a landline telephone number without the proper area code is useless. These metrics provide clear statistics for assessment of data quality. Qualitative metrics, on the other hand, are indirect measurements and are used for evaluating objectives like customer satisfaction or business opportunities. The information for such assessment is gathered through methods like surveys or polls and its evaluation will be subjective in nature.
Another important measure that must be taken is to conduct regular audits in order to ensure that the data quality is not compromised. Audits are aimed at not only identifying the issue but also the reason behind it in order to fix it. The process helps data stewards in spotting the processes of data collection which need overhauling and therefore must be undertaken at regular intervals.
The information generated within or collected from outside by an enterprise can be a very effective tool for improving the efficiency and productivity but it requires the engagement of data governance consulting firms, so that a proper system of data management can be established.