The start of a new year is a fantastic time to take stock of your existing framework and mark down areas for improvement. As we move into 2022, make implementing effective data governance strategy the top of your New Year’s Resolutions list.
Establishing a plan to best handle your business data can not only help to increase security but improve compliance as well. You will also be able to improve business performance when you ensure your data is stored and collected in the most appropriate way across your business.
Data governance is the series of practises, principals, standards, and metrics your business follows to make the most efficient and effective use of data and information.
Put simply, good data governance ensures your business can achieve its goals by making sure all the data you collate is consistent, trustworthy and, most importantly, secure.
It cannot be understated how valuable effective data governance can be for a growing business. But it can take a keen eye and significant time to implement the framework your business needs.
So, let’s explore some of the best practises and benefits for data governance, and why seeking external advice for these processes can transform your business in 2022.
Data governance roles and framework
Data governance is one part of a greater aspect of data management. Data governance specifically focuses on the roles, processes for accountability and responsibilities to ensure data assets are protected.
Data governance framework should function as a support to a business’s overall data management strategy. According to Gartner research, there are seven principles for good data governance:
1. Values and outcomes – Align your governance with a goal or outcome, then put in place data analytics to track and measure these goals.
2. Accountability – Clearly outline who is responsible for which aspects of the data governance strategy in your business.
3. Trust – Are your data sources trustworthy, and have they been trustworthy for the lifetime of the business? Mechanics should be implemented to analyse the history of your data inputs. For example, dirty data due to human error can easily occur and impact business reporting.
4. Transparency – Your data governance strategy should be clear and easy to understand, as well as access, for all employees.
5. Security – Knowing what data you have, where it is stored, how it is used, who has access to it and whether they are following privacy regulations. Managing data in a secure and private way is crucial to reducing the risk of cyber-security breaches.
6. Training – Establish ongoing training, as well as onboarding education, around data governance will help to reduce the risk of human error. For example, employees from an older generation may not be familiar with how to spot phishing attacks and may need education on this.
7. Data culture – Create a culture in which data governance is part of the team culture from top to bottom, and a collaborative effort to protect the data security of the business.
Best practises for data governance
Handling the data management of a business is an ongoing job that is often highly complex, and affects the day-to-day actions of every employee in your business. Seeking the assistance of a third-party provider may be a helpful way to ensure that this is performed at the most optimal level across your business.
That being said, here are some of the best practises for data governance. When paired with the above seven principles of data governance, you can better understand how to implement an effective data governance framework:
1. Define your goals – create a roadmap for your business goals for data governance, including manageable expectations and benchmarks that demonstrate these goals are being met.
2. Clarify your formatting – Set a formatting standard across all your data collection and entry for uniformity and ease of reporting (date formats as 01/01/2022 etc.)
3. Decide on your metrics – How are you measuring your progress? Include metrics that can assess your data quality and quantity.
4. Choose your Data Officers – Who in each team do you believe would be best suited to monitor the strategy of data governance within your business.
5. Seek help when needed – Implementing effective data governance requires a careful hand and often a fresh pair of eyes. Consider seeking the service of an Auditor, such as the team at National Audits Group, to help you hit the ground running.
The benefits of effective data governance
There are several reasons why data governance is crucial for the success and security of businesses.
Firstly, it can help your business to prevent cyberattacks and security breaches. There has been a sharp rise in phishing attacks and other cyber threats in recent years, so managing these challenges with stronger security protocols, regularly-updated passwords, and employee education is crucial.
Data governance may also assist in reducing the workload and doubling-up of tasks for many teams working with data, such as the IT Team or Finance Team. Better cross-functional decision making, and uniform communication can help a business to operate at a higher level.
Further, effective data governance can increase the ROI of your data analytics, in turn improving your reporting functionality and ability to make business decisions. Without the right information, forward planning for the business may be impaired.
The risks of poor data governance
Keep in mind that without a company-wide uptake of data governance strategy from top to bottom, cracks can start to form in the most successful of businesses. This is especially evident when a business has not recently updated their data governance framework.
There are a range of short- and long-term impacts where poor data governance is in place. You may be at risk of losing or compromising customer data, which in turn can adversely impact customer relationships and the reputation of your business. Further, there is the risk of unintentionally being in violation of regulations and laws. When these breaches are reported, the publication of these violations may further hurt the business’s reputation or relationships.
Whether you need to create incentives to motivate employees to follow the strategy or prioritise using tools and programs that are user-friendly, it’s crucial that a business fills in these gaps before problems can occur.
And one of the easiest ways to ensure data governance framework is property implemented is by seeking this service and gaining assistance from a third party.
Let National Audits Group transform your data governance
Data governance always involves assigning of Data roles within a business. These roles may include hiring a Chief Data Officer (company leader for data governance strategy), appointing a Data Owner for each team in your business and a Data Steward for the day-to-day management of data, and even establishing a Data Team or Committee to help govern policy and procedure within the company.
Your business may need to look externally for assistance in filing key roles for data governance. This can be invaluable in helping to manage your data as hiring an external Auditor, such as the National Audits Group team, ensures the highest quality of work and assessment will be implemented across your business.
As mentioned above, it often takes a fresh perspective from a third-party, such as an external Auditor, to notice the gaps you or your employees may naturally overlook. The team at the National Audits Group team are passionate about success, and bring their expert navigational skills to the most complex of regulatory compliance issues and data management. This means all your gaps are covered, and the chances of negative impacts to the business’s reputation or relationships are greatly reduced.
While many data governance frameworks can follow a similar structure, there are no cookie-cutter strategies at National Audits Group. Every client is unique, and so too are your goals, values and outcomes for data management. Relationships are at the core of our success, so our approach is transparent and open, ensuring regular two-way communication.
Through this, we can best work side-by-side with you to implement effective data governance strategy and data management in 2022.