Being able to efficiently cope with vast volumes of data is becoming a key priority for organisations all over the world. We all know that when it’s curated, categorised and managed correctly, data can become an incredibly valuable asset that can influence strategic and operational decision making. This is the main driver for data governance, which can directly and indirectly lead to increases in efficiency, revenue and market share and decreases in risks and costs.
Data governance is described as the process of establishing management and attributing responsibility of data by implementing standards, policies and processes that enable organisations to execute data management so they can maximise the value of their data assets. Much like an airport control tower ensures the safe and efficient flow of flights, data governance acts as the guiding light in an organisation, ensuring the smooth and secure management of data assets. And just as air traffic controllers rely on protocols, standards and clear communication to navigate aircraft, data governance relies on established policies, procedures and collaboration to steer an organisation towards data-driven success.
Data governance misconceptions
There are also some commonly held misconceptions about data governance – one is that it’s only for large organisations, but SMEs can use data governance too to help them drive efficiency and reduce costs. Another is that it is all about technology – it isn’t, as there are equally important elements of policies, processes and people to ensure data is managed effectively. And it’s not only about compliance – it is as much about creating the right culture as it is about regulation. A lot of people also think that it’s a one-off project, but it’s a continuous process that requires on-going review and improvement.
Another important aspect to consider is an organisation’s maturity level with respect to data governance. A lack of understanding about an organisation’s maturity will invariably mean data is not optimised – we often see companies wasting their time and resources on initiatives that don’t match their maturity level. They need to know what to start working on first. They need to know how they can help their organisation become data driven. And they need to be able to articulate where they want to be in five years’ time. To do this, a baseline data governance maturity assessment is vital. To make the case for the importance of data governance maturity assessments, here are the benefits:
Measuring organisational maturity: a data governance maturity assessment is an instrument to measure the organisational maturity of data governance activities. It will provide you with a baseline measurement and the option to benchmark your results, which will help you measure how you’re progressing and make your data governance programme visible and quantifiable.
Basis for a data strategy and roadmap: the results of your maturity assessment can look at where you are now, your growth aspirations and see how fit for purpose your current governance model and strategy is. From that, we can identify gaps, set priorities and develop a roadmap for the next five years.
Targeted resources: the assessment can ensure that resources are aligned with your requirements. Using this we can look at the most logical order in which data governance elements are implemeted to support future growth.
One language, one vision: the assessment and results provide a common language and shared vision for process improvement, enabling effective communication and collaboration across your organisation.
Stakeholder alignment: as it’s an objective measurement, the assessment can be presented to internal stakeholders, ensuring alignment and buy-in for your data governance initiatives.
Helping maximise value of data assets: whether initiatives are scattered across the organisation or are limited, an assessment can kick-start your organisation’s pursuit of maximising the value of its data assets and steering strategic decision-making.
Good data management and data governance are the foundation stones for any organisation’s approach to data and intrinsic to their success is finding out where you are at the moment, where you want to be and how you plan to get there. A data governance maturity assessment is key to helping you define that. And it will save you a whole world of headaches along the way.