The importance of digital services in business is growing at an accelerating speed. These services generate a lot of data about the daily operation of the company, such as order, customer and employee data. The low cost of data storage has made it possible to store all this data permanently so that it can be used later to understand how the organization works and to take the best advantage of the organization’s resources. For some companies, the data has become their most valuable asset, and their business is based on using their data in the most efficient way.
In large organizations, digital projects are often developed separately and there is little or no communication between the teams. Each application might have a dedicated database, to which others don’t have access. In the worst case, the same data is stored in different locations, which might result in problems with data integrity. All this reduces the operational efficiency of the organization since employees lose time in looking for data, gaining access to data and correcting errors. To combat these problems, organizations have developed Data Governance frameworks to keep their data in check.
WHAT IS DATA GOVERNANCE?
The core concept in Data Governance is the ownership of data. Similarly, as business units have their leaders, company’s datasets can be assigned owners who are responsible for them. These responsibilities include assuring that the quality of the data is good and making sure that access to data conforms to the company policies. It is in the spirit of Data Governance that the data is visible to the broadest audience possible and access to data is restricted only when it is justified for good reasons, such as protection of privacy.
The monetary value of Data Governance can be difficult to estimate. While it adds some bureaucracy and requires training of people, it might have benefits for the overall efficiency of the organization. The lack of Data Governance manifests itself in organizations as slow progress of IT projects or compensation sums paid to customers. When the importance of data in organizations increases, the employees must have easy access to data. Particularly in Data Science projects, the role of data is crucial and badly managed data can slow down the progress significantly. If the company’s data assets are documented centrally and the employees can access them openly, development projects can proceed in a more agile manner. When employees can easily find and combine different types of data, it also provides a better ground for employees to generate new ideas. The longer your data remains unmanaged, the more complex your data landscape grows and the more challenging it becomes to start the Data Governance project. So, get moving early!
HOW TO GET STARTED?
In my own experience, the level of data management in Finnish organizations is usually not very refined. By realizing a successful Data Governance project, you could thus gain a competitive advantage with respect to other companies! Although I should probably not talk about a project in this context since the process of Data Governance is never ending. It is rather a shift in the way of working, which does not involve just the IT organization, but the business must get involved too. The Data Owner is not necessarily a technical person but could also be the leader of a business unit for whom the data is important.
The Microsoft Azure cloud platform provides several tools for managing and documenting data. The core idea of these tools is that everyone has access to them, but the users may have different editing rights based on their role. If Data Governance and the tools provided by Azure have caught your attention, don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss if Zure could help your organization in implementing Data Governance.