The last few years have seen a shift in how organisations collect and respond to data.
Some organisations are frightened at the prospect of data collection and analysis, some welcome it and collect all they can. The truth is the best method lies somewhere in the middle.
While the prospect of data in the cloud can be daunting for some organisations, other companies are drowning in data and will be for some time without a good solution – like data governance.
In this blog, I’ll explore what data governance is and why it is so important in today’s world.
Why data governance is so important
You may be wondering what exactly data governance is, or why it’s so crucial for your organisation’s future.
In short, data governance is the set of processes and policies within an organisation that set out how data is gathered, stored, processed, and disposed of. It governs who can access what kinds of data under what circumstances, and helps organisations translate large datasets into actionable insights to inform and optimise company decisions.
In fact, the whole concept of data governance is to ensure that an organisation’s data is accurate whilst also reducing data risks. As tech continues to evolve, data quantities rise with a larger audience for organisations to tap in to. Some may say that the more data you have, the better for your organisation – that is a myth.
Too many organisations waste resources gathering data that has no relevance to their objectives. A key part of data governance is only gathering data you need to grow and to meet expectations.
However, many organisations feel they don’t have the resources or the staff to maintain data governance, placing other priorities placing higher on the ladder. If this applies to you, one method is to invest in analytical tools and manpower to interpret the data you gather. Organisations today are drowning in data, and without appropriate action, this will only continue. Investing in tools and staff to help prioritise, organise, and analyse data can unlock the insights you need to drive forward your business performance.
Data governance and the cloud
The link between the cloud and data governance is stronger than it has ever been.
Many data governance tools run in the cloud, as the number of cloud-based data applications rises. This has come with clear benefits, such as multi-cloud environments offering more transparency through logging, and solutions for data errors being deployed across cloud networks. Consistent data governance will improve efficiency, minimise security risks, and improve the quality and usability of data – all of which are highly beneficial to organisations.
Although data governance comes with its benefits, it has also presented challenges for organisations who find they are not equipped with the necessary skillsets to manage these new technologies effectively.
Concerns surrounding a data breach are common, with many executives worrying about their data security, and seeking assurance from their cloud provider that there will be protection against exposure or theft. But with an industry-wide 92% cloud adoption rate, the majority of organisations are using multiple public cloud-based data applications for their data, and this should help ease the minds of the worrying executives and organisations.
More professionals are being pressed to develop their skills to include the newly essential cloud-based knowledge in order to keep up with the market. Personally, I’m seeing more candidates than ever with Collibra and Informatica certifications, which are cloud-based data governance tools, and I expect this will become a necessity for all data governance professionals in the next twelve months. This shows the market is evolving quickly as, in 2021, it was a rarity to see cloud-based data governance experience as a requirement for a role.
Data governance and data quality
One key reason that data governance is so crucial to many organisations is that they are faced with enormous quantities of data with a lack of quality, leading to organisations having to deal with what is named ‘dark data’ – essentially, unmanageable, and unusable data. This, in turn, hampers the ability to make well-informed business decisions around data.
In a survey performed by Enterprise Strategy Group, 42% of respondents stated that at least half of their data was ‘dark data’, which led to downstream bottlenecks and affected the accuracy of their operational data. The best thing organisations in this position can do, is to perform a big push to increase data quality visibility across the business and focus solely on the quality of data, not the quantity of it. Additionally, tools with automated features enhance data quality visibility to all data governance teams and are recommended to all organisations.
Data governance and data quality are closely linked, and organisations must have proper data governance before considering any separate data quality tools. Although this may mean that organisations must lead a huge data clear-out, it will prove to be beneficial to both the organisation and the end-user, as data-led insights increasingly shape, and improve wider business decisions. While data overhauls can include identifying critical data elements for the business, or estimating the shelf-life of poor data quality, to streamline strategy an organisation must decide which area is the highest risk and focus on that specifically first. Following this, organisations can use data governance to begin to adopt data policies and control their data.