Data management – the role it plays

By Jeroen Grootnibbelink

Within the World of Data, data management plays a crucial role in transforming data into the valuable currency organisations need to ensure they become truly data driven. Top line, data management is about classifying, storing, organising and maintaining data.

But it is more nuanced than that – metadata management is about the ownership, definitions and lineage of the data. Whereas master data management (MDM) and reference data management are about setting the data foundation – the onboarding of data, the creation of so-called ‘golden records’ (single data points that provide important, accurate information about a customer, for example), tracking data quality, determining data models and structures, data enrichment and the channels for distributing the data. Managing master and reference data in the right way is key to effective business operations and helps standardise data for reporting purposes.

Quality and good governance

Ensuring your data’s quality and establishing a ‘single version of the truth’ is paramount and ensures data truly becomes an asset. This requires watertight data governance, which is the overarching principle to ensure that data management is embedded and controlled throughout the organisation. It is important that the right processes are installed to ensure that data is defined and owned, and also used, protected and shared. This is not just for compliance purposes – although compliance is often a good place to start – but importantly, to help organisations achieve and even surpass their business goals.

Making your organisation data driven

Most companies now understand the value of data – but a lot of them are not sure how they even start to derive that value. This is where the ‘think big, start small’ paradigm comes to play – firstly, establishing a clear vision of what you want to achieve is a good grounding for a ‘use case driven journey’ i.e. understanding the use and value of data in specific circumstances. In these use cases, people, process and technology need to be aligned to ensure that data management is successful.

People and processes

Another key point is that new data roles will spring up that might not have existed before – master data managers and data stewards are examples. Data processes need to be established to control and quality assure data, from the point of entry into the organisation through its journey to the point of distribution of the data to in-house stakeholders and those outside the organisation who might also depend on it.

To ensure this is all efficient – and cost-effective – the right tooling is a must, for example for the use of workflows, data quality rules and checks and dashboards. To be able to match and merge into a golden record, but also to have the technical lineage to understand the repercussions of any changes to the data. Combined, this will help organisations to continuously improve their data quality and be able to adapt to future changes.

Data management isn’t just data management

Data management can be used as a change enabler, not just by centralising the data function, but because it relies on collaborating, reorganising and breaking down barriers that might exist between different departments. It encourages people across the organisation to work together. It can be an enabler for ERP implementations and all different kinds of interesting data analytics and data science projects.

In the data management phase of our World of Data campaign, we’ll take you on a journey to show you how Valcon has worked with different clients on data management initiatives, and the role it has played in evolving and changing those organisations.

Want to learn more? If you want to speak to someone about effecting positive change through data management at your organisation, please email [email protected] and we’ll be in touch right away.

Jeroen Grootnibbelink is head of the data management practice at Valcon