5 Steps to Establishing Your Data Governance Strategy

Inconsistent naming, lack of clarity around ownership, or even worse, data leaks and cyber attacks — these are all outcomes of a poor (or non-existent) data governance strategy.

As companies continue to acquire more and more data, and even more so, try to make sense of their data and activate it across their businesses, having a solid data governance strategy in place is a make-or-break necessity for any organization.

Data governance is both the strategy and the process by which an organization manages and controls its information assets. This includes the structure and security of data, as well as who has access to it. Businesses use data governance to improve efficiency by ensuring that information is organized properly and accessible while ensuring only authorized personnel have access to sensitive data.  A well-organized data governance plan enables organizations to quickly, and securely, make more informed decisions based on current market conditions and monitor changes over time.

On the other side, collecting data without a strong data governance strategy can lead to frustration and confusion within the organization. Inconsistent information handling can cause problems with data quality, which can impact decision-making and business operations. Additionally, without a clear policy for managing information, businesses can run into privacy and compliance issues. These risks can even result in significant financial losses or other penalties if they are not addressed properly.

Such strategies also help to promote consistency across the organization by providing clear guidance on how data should be handled and managed, but where do we start? How do we go from “we’ve got a lot of data that some employees can navigate” to “we’ve got a standardized approach to collecting and securing the data we collect that can be used confidently across our organization”? There are a few key things to consider when developing your data governance strategy:

1. Start by defining your goals and objectives.

What do you want your data governance strategy to achieve? Defining your goals upfront will help you create a plan that is tailored to your specific needs. Are there specific regulations you need to comply with?  What teams need access to various levels of data? (Typically these levels are something like public, internal, confidential and restricted.)

2. Establish rules and guidelines for managing your data.

These rules should be followed by everyone who is responsible for managing or working with data, and should be updated as needed. Where will data governance occur and how will you get the data there? How will the data be accessible for use afterwards? These are specific and outline how individual data sets should be managed.

3. Create a process for monitoring and regulating data.

This process should include checks and balances to ensure that data is being managed as defined in step two and that any issues are addressed quickly. 

4. Train employees on how to use and manage data.

Employees need to be familiar with the rules and guidelines for data management, as well as the processes for monitoring and regulating it.

5. Repeat steps one through four each year.

To ensure you’ve got personnel that understand what your data governance strategy is and its importance.

There is no doubt that data governance will continue to be a critical factor for businesses in the years to come. With the ever-growing volume of data being generated and shared online, it is more important than ever for companies to have a strategy in place for managing and using this information effectively. By properly implementing data governance, businesses can protect their information assets while gaining an advantage over their competition. With the right data governance strategy in place, businesses can make informed decisions, respond quickly to changes in the market, ensure the integrity of your information, and protect against security threats.

At Stitch, we specialize in helping organizations do just this. We work with your teams to understand the guidelines you have in place, the data you are working with and how your team is using that data today.  Our tool of choice for monitoring data compliance against your plan is Twilio Segment. Segment’s Protocols feature offers real time inspection of data and notifies the proper team when violations occur. You can even decide if you want to allow that data into downstream systems or if Segment should divert/reject it. Data governance is a problem that compounds over time. If you have concerns about your organization’s approach to data governance, we’d love to talk with you about how we can help.

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