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What Is Data Governance & Why Should You Care About It?.

What Is Data Governance?

Since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was instituted in the UK in the Spring of 2018, other countries and companies have evaluated their data & security practices and policies for the last four years. As a result, many practices like third-party cookies and IP address tracking now require opt-in verification by website visitors and app users rather than being able to track and gather those data sources automatically.

While the United States has not officially implemented any national data-governing and gathering policies, American-based companies are at the forefront. Apple rolled out enhanced security features with their development of iOS14 and Google with their creation of GA4. These are just some of the companies leading the charge and keeping data compliance and data governance at the forefront of everyone’s minds in recent months.

You probably have heard the term “data governance” before, but you may be a bit foggy if asked to give a definition. We are here to break it down for you and guide you on why it’s important to keep top of mind for your organization.

Simply put, data governance is the strategy and plan for maintaining and managing clean and compliant data.

Data Governance is made up of the management of the following components:

Availability. Your data is easily accessible and ready for consumption.

Usability. Your data is organized, documented, and follows a structured system.

Integrity. Your data is accurate, clean, correct, and consistent.

Security. Your data is safe and has the proper safeguards and security measures in place according to proper procedures and processes.

By implementing a data governance plan at your organization, here are some of the key functions and byproducts of having it in place:

  • Help ensure compliance with data laws & regulations.
  • Enforce policies that prevent data errors.
  • Provide decision-makers with accurate and reliable information.
  • Avoid data silos from team to team by having global definitions & practices in place.

Why Should You Care About It?

You may be reading this and are very concerned because you quickly realize your organization doesn’t have a good data governance strategy or may not have one in place at all. Don’t grab that paper bag and start hyperventilating… you’ve got friends in the same situation.

Data Governance is hard! According to Forrester, at the end of 2021, only 24% of companies in the US have a current data governance plan.

We know that the data we utilize day-in and day-out to measure success, analyze budgets, and guide us to our next lead often makes the difference between profit and loss. But we often fail to take the time to evaluate how we manage, curate and maintain that data.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and business professionals alike have had to adapt over the last 2.5 years. Your business may have been in a previously controlled environment with staff who were once all in the same brick-and-mortar location, complete with firewalls, physical servers, and a clean set of SOPs and policies. But for the last two years, you’ve just been winging it with staff now spread out across the country in a mixture of environments, and your SOPs and policies might just be an afterthought. So it’s no wonder that a large majority of companies are experiencing an unprecedented rate of data decay.

According to a Validity survey, company respondents estimate their data will degrade by an average of 34% by the end of 2022 if their company doesn’t invest in improvements.

Therefore, companies that don’t prioritize data quality and governance are mainly losing out on revenue, wasting company time, and missing key opportunities.

Threats of Poor Data Governance

  • Wasted Time. Not having proper systems leads employees to spend much time searching for what they need. 
  • Wasted Data. When data is not managed correctly, employees often find workarounds.
  • Lost Business/Leads. Missing or Bad Data leads to lost opportunities. 
  • Lost Employees (Great Resignation). Staff often get burnout and leave when they are constantly dealing with poor systems and data infrastructures. 

“Up to 50% of employee time is wasted due to dealing with mundane data quality issues” (MIT Sloan Management Review).

However, when companies focus on data governance, it pays off.

According to Forrester, data-driven companies are 58% more likely to beat revenue goals than those not focused on data.

Benefits of Data Governance

  • Provides Global Standards & Eliminates Silos. When a Data Governance plan is set, it provides a company-wide policy for how data is to be managed, collected, and maintained. This eliminates data silos, which allows you to implement a single source of truth and implement metrics and dashboards that can be shared between cross-functional teams.
  • Maintains Data Integrity. By having a standard set of policies, there are clear guidelines by which data must be maintained, which helps ensure your company complies with international, national, and state rules and regulations.
  • Increased Revenue & Quality. Data governance helps ensure accuracy, efficiency, and quality, which leads to better data-driven decision-making and, ultimately, more revenue for your company. 

If you have questions about your data governance plan, there has never been a better time. 

We’d love to help you navigate your next steps!