Good data governance is key in leveraging data. Source: Shutterstock

Good data governance is key in leveraging data. Source: Shutterstock

Good governance is key to unlocking data’s potential

DATA is the core corporate asset that helps organizations thrive in the marketplace. It is the foundation on which a successful digital transformation must be built.

If leveraged well, it can give an organization a leg up in competitive differentiation.

Most companies embrace data with open arms, however, simply possessing large amounts of data is not enough to improve a company’s business performance or increase revenues.

Often, less-than-optimal business decisions are made based on insights drawn from unreliable data. This comes with consequences such as lost business opportunities and poor capital investments, just to name a few.

Ultimately, companies that win the data race will be those that possess good data capabilities and quality — and a robust data governance framework that outlines how data assets should be acquired, used, and protected.

There is no one-size-fits-all to building a good framework, unfortunately.

When thinking about data governance, companies must keep strategic goals at the fore, identify challenges unique to their business, audit current data, and then decide on a structure to test and evaluate against the organization’s needs.

Implementing good data governance requires great effort, but it is also a gift that keeps on giving.

Businesses that deal with data, however, cannot escape regulatory compliance. Hence, it is crucial to manage the risks arising out of capturing, storing, and handling data. If done right, it will help grow a company’s bottom line. Having quality data is the first proactive step to compliance.

Being proactive has great benefits, one of which includes not having to deal with the repercussions that come with poor data compliance.

Good data governance should not be an afterthought. Instead, it must be a strategic imperative for all businesses regardless of their industry. Poor implementation of it will have dire, long term consequences.

For instance, a company can embark on ambitious, multi-year projects, but prevailing data privacy laws could hinder progress. Or millions can be spent on tools that supposedly improves data quality but to no avail. Redundant governance rules can be instituted, and employees made to comply, without seeing tangible results.

In 2020, companies should realign their focus on data governance. Data is the bedrock of any digital-first organization and quality data is the mortar that holds a business together.

It is crucial that companies get data governance right early on. This can help them climb the steep digital maturity curve, setting them above their competitors.