Analyze this – you are a big consumer durables company about to launch a new product soon and your product and marketing departments decide to conduct market research with your existing customers in a city. You obviously expect to gather sufficient and highly useful feedback that will help you gauge customer response and make any alterations in the product or its marketing before actual launch. However, the research exercise turns extremely futile. Of your entire test universe, some customers are non-existent, some have never used your company’s products and some have never even used this product by any other company, i.e., a large chunk of your research market turns out to be irrelevant or a bad fit for this exercise.
What really happened here? You carried out a big market research exercise spending thousands of dollars but missed out checking up on a small but extremely important input – your data quality. What resulted was classic GIGO – Garbage In, Garbage Out! This is just a sample of the hurdles you end up facing when you ignore one of the biggest assets of your enterprise – Data. And the principles that govern the safety, security and quality of this asset are what form the basics of Data Governance.
What is Data Governance?
Data Governance is a disciplined and integrated approach to oversee and manage enterprise data through formalized structure, policies, processes and systems. It creates a culture where creating and maintaining high quality data is a core discipline of the organization.
Data governance assures that within your organization, right data is available to the right people and processes at the right time.
To ensure effective data governance within your organization, you should clearly define –
- Data governance structure and framework
- Roles and responsibilities with reference to your data governance structure
- Standard operating procedures for resolving both identified and un-identified data issues within your organization
Key Benefits of Data Governance
- Consistent and single view of data across your organization – Say you are a bank. Whether your credit cards, loans or saving accounts department look up the address/ transaction details of a customer John Doe – they should all be able to see the same updated information about him. This cannot be ensured unless data governance principles and processes are consistently followed across the organization.
- Ensuring data’s safety and security – Data governance should define the privileges you want to provide to various users of data depending upon their roles and responsibilities. You should use the CRUD Matrix (Create, Read, Update and Delete) to assign these role based privileges.
- Providing accurate data for business analytics and improved decision making – Unless the data on which your key decisions are based, is accurate, you cannot achieve optimum results.
- Generating operational efficiency that leads to savings – For e.g., inaccurate customer data may lead to inefficient marketing campaigns and unnecessary wasteful expenditure. An effective data governance organization will reduce these and generate savings.
- Reducing instances of regulatory non-compliance and penalties – You can reduce the instances of incorrect regulatory filings and impending penalties by ensuring timely availability of accurate data.
- Providing enhanced and consistent customer experience across all touch-points – When all your departments know who John Doe is, he too gets to see the correct and updated account information everywhere – whether he uses an ATM, online banking or walks into a branch office. This leads to a better overall experience for him.
Always remember, data governance is what keeps your data real, clean, consistent and secure. After all, data is what leads to information. Information creates knowledge. And today, more than ever before – knowledge is power. Knowledge is what empowers your decision making and strategies. Your data is your enterprise’s biggest asset, and ignoring the importance of protecting and preserving this asset is a mistake you would really not like to make.
– Research Optimus