Data Governance: Why Is it Important?

Computer with data and maps on screen

You want to use data to make business decisions, but is the information you need unorganized, unavailable, or unusable?

To make data-driven decisions, you need data that is secure, accurate, and accessible. The only way to achieve this is through data governance. A strong data governance framework gets your entire organization on the same page, so everyone knows where data is collected, stored, and managed.

Read on to learn why data governance is so vital to modern businesses.

What Is Data Governance?

Let’s start by looking at what data governance entails. Governance is the process and procedures used to manage data through its lifecycle. The first step in a governance program is defining what data means to your organization.

From there, you can build a framework that ensures your data is:

  • Secure
  • Accessible
  • Accurate
  • Consistent
  • Organized

The overall goal is an organization where everyone has access to the data, knows how to format it, and understands who is in charge of it.

Why is this important to your business? Let’s find out.

Improves Data Accuracy

One of the biggest drawbacks of using data is not trusting it. If you think your data is inaccurate, you won’t use it when making important decisions. Too often, businesses end up with inconsistent data, making it hard to determine if it’s correct or not.

Data governance fixes this issue by creating a standard for your data. Your standardized data remains managed through its entire lifecycle — from collection to analysis. Above all, it ensures your data stays accurate and consistent throughout the process. No matter where you need to draw data from, you’ll trust your data.

Makes Data More Secure

Cybersecurity is more important than ever in our digital world. Sloppy, unorganized data is a security risk. Without a data management process in place, you might not know when something goes wrong. Excessive unorganized data might also make it impossible to tell which data is legitimate or a security risk, leaving your employees, clients, and vendors vulnerable.

You can increase the security of your data through a governance framework. Data governance tools make it easier to monitor your data as it moves through your pipelines. Your system can alert you if something doesn’t look right. After an alert, data stewards can examine the potential threat and repair issues before data is compromised.

Eliminates Duplicate Data

Collecting and storing duplicate data costs your organization time and money. You’ll likely end up paying for extra data storage or analytics software to manage the additional data. Meanwhile, your employees might waste time sifting through duplicate information. When you’re ready to analyze the data, you then run the risk of using the same data multiples times. Interpreting duplicate data could lead to inaccurate insights that end up hurting your business more than helping.

The importance of data governance is removing the potential for duplicate data. A solid governance framework accounts for each piece of data. Your insights will be more accurate since you won’t have to account for overlapping information. You’ll also save time and money by eliminating the need to sort through data and manually find and fix duplicates.

Removes Data Silos

Data silos create barriers between teams within your organization. Let’s say the sales team collects and stores one type of information. They use a particular platform for managing this data. On the other hand, the customer service team collects and stores different information on their preferred platform. These data silos could be holding the organization back from making better insights to improve the client experience.

You can use data governance to eliminate data silos, whether they’re departmental or technological. Your governance strategy should incorporate platforms and processes that work with each other for improved collaboration across your organization. These platforms and processes help remove data silos and make it easier for everyone to access and analyze data. The result is more powerful, data-based business decisions.

Reduces Data Management Costs

Reducing errors, duplicates, and security risks in your data also eliminates the cost of managing data. Having no governance plan in place means your team is less efficient. They’ll have to track down incorrect information, duplicate accounts, and potential threats. Any issues found will need to be fixed manually.

Properly managing data through a governance plan removes the time it takes to find and fix your data issues. Less time fixing errors means your organization is more efficient while wasting fewer resources. The fewer resources wasted, the less it costs to operate your data management program.

Keeps You Compliant

Very few businesses operate in industries that don’t have some measure of regulations and oversight from governing bodies. With the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018, businesses with clients who are residents of the European Union (EU) need to follow the data guidelines. Even if you operate outside of the EU, your business should consider incorporating rules, processes, and protocols to stay in compliance.

Unorganized and ungoverned data could put you out of compliance with the GDPR or industry regulations, leaving you vulnerable to potential risks, including fines. The easiest way to stay up to date on current regulations is through data governance. Your governance framework allows you to manage data according to the latest guidelines. This allows your organization to be ready to adjust your data management procedures whenever new laws or regulations are introduced.

Learn More About Data Governance with 5P

Now that you understand the importance of data governance, how do you implement a governance framework? Most executives don’t have the time or data industry knowledge to design, build, and implement a new data management system from scratch.

Data governance and management consulting from 5P can help. We understand you need a solution that fits your needs and your budget. Let our experienced team analyze your existing strategies and look for ways to improve your systems. Learn more about data governance and how it could streamline your organization’s data in a free consultation today.

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