Just like with their Ecommerce efforts, many senior managers are striving to improve their data governance. Without a corporate-sponsored initiative in place, they strive for small victories as the volume and complexity of the data stresses the organization. Instinctively, they know it is the right thing to do, but they need to convince executive management that the investment is justified.
A well-crafted Data Governance program helps firms in many ways; here is a list of 5 tangible benefits you can use to build your case for launching a comprehensive #DataGovernance initiative:
Improving Data Consistency/Accuracy
When it comes to how data is managed across the organization, in many cases it is still the “Wild West”. Payroll data has historically had adequate controls in place, but elsewhere in the organization there may be varying levels of anarchy running rampant. This leads to a host of challenges which can include:
- Conflicting financial metrics that require additional resources to resolve disparity
- Compromised managerial decisions resulting from inaccurate or unavailable data
- Poor customer experience resulting from obsolete product information or multiple prices originating from different platforms
Why Data Governance Helps: One of the core elements of Data Governance is to require that data is centralized – originating from only one location from within the organization. Centralizing data involves technology, process, and human resource components. By centralizing data, you have the foundation in place that allows for proper data management and authentication. With effective governance in place you can achieve a high level of data integrity which has myriad benefits across the organization.
In recent years, the cost of data storage has become so inexpensive it is approaching zero. A byproduct of very cheap storage is a principal motivator for proper data management has gone away. The result is very rapid growth of corporate data, both necessary and unnecessary data. The cost of proper management of this data is directly proportional to the volume.
Properly managed data delivers efficiencies that include:
- Lower overall cost associated in managing the necessary amount of corporate data.
- Ability to create relevant content once and use it in multiple applications throughout the organization. An example of this would be marketing content related to a specific product. Properly managed, stakeholders access the one approved version of the content, rather than creating new content from scratch and then re-starting the approval process.
- Adding additional technology functions or upgrading software is much easier when data is centralized and properly managed.
- Armed with better information and consistent paths to obtain it, customer service interactions become far more consultative and less of a scavenger hunt for answers.
It is commonplace to read about security breaches that in some high-profile cases affect millions of users. While large-scale threats are typically the result of hackers exploiting some firewall vulnerability, many just happen to be poorly governed storage or device protocols, i .e., ad hoc systems and storage practices. Familiar examples include:
- Laptops left on a train, or stolen from a car with login credentials taped to the keyboard
- Lost flash drives with no encryption
- Cloud storage such as Dropbox, Google Drive etc.
- Openly emailing data both internal and external to the organization
Security breaches can be extremely costly to the firm, and can even involve regulatory judgements, lawsuits, etc. In addition to breaches, improper governance can result in proprietary information ultimately being exposed to competitors or perhaps even your customer base. Imagine if your competitors or customers had visibility to your trade secrets or perhaps your cost and profitability structure. It could possibly take down your entire organization.
While there is no way to calculate potential liabilities of breaches or lax control of proprietary data, the cost to guard against it is readily available. While certainly not insignificant, the cost pales in comparison to the potential cost of avoiding Data Governance.
Enhancing Customer Experience
Perhaps the most compelling reason to pursue data governance is to deliver a better experience for your valuable customers. In addition to the benefits listed above, here are some additional ways Data Governance enhances customer experience:
- Improved response time: With more efficient operations, customer facing staff can respond to customers in a timelier manner
- Better customer interaction: With better information being delivered to customers on-demand (better data enables that)
- Higher Brand Loyalty: Data Governance ultimately drives a higher level of trust and confidence in your organization, for both employees as well as customers. Trust is a major component in brand loyalty.
Developing a sound Data Governance program is like any other well-planned initiative. You have to invest resources at the outset, but when well executed the investment will deliver benefits that far outweigh the initial investment.