Your data requires governance to maximize its value

The insight your organization gains from its data determines the likelihood you will prosper in the big data age. The data will not manage itself and requires a discipline known as data governance. Your competition is looking to maximize the value it gets from its data, and the maturing role of the chief data officer reeks of strong data governance.

Formal data governance programs seek to improve the value an organization gets from its data and information.

The term “governance” is scary to organizations that value autonomy and independence in the way they manage their businesses. Governance sounds exhausting, difficult and cumbersome — all about command and control of our data, of all things.

The truth is that it does not have to be that way. And governed data can be the lifeline to success in many ways.

Exploding data technologies

Industries in mass are adopting the buzzwords of the 20-teens, which focus on data. The terms big data, the cloud, analytics, metadata, B2B, B2C, and the latest buzz about the Internet of Things, otherwise known as M2M (machine to machine).

All of these technologies are exploding. All of these require confidence that you have accurate, timely, understood, purposeful and protected data.

The McKinsey Global Institute estimated that retailers exploiting data analytics at scale across their organizations could increase operating margins by more than 60 percent, and the U.S. health care sector could reduce costs by 8 percent through data-analytics efficiency and quality improvements.

These projected statistics only scratch the surface when it comes to how companies are — and will be — squeezing every last drop of value from their data.

The question becomes “What are you doing with your data?” Are you getting the value you can from what you know about your customer, citizen, supplier, student, provider and all relationships? This list of important data goes on and on.

You are probably doing OK with how you manage all of this data, at least you hope. But the data does not govern itself. Data governance programs can formalize accountability for the management of data through stewardship of data resources.

Govern data as an asset

Data governance won’t solve all of your data problems. To follow the data buzz requires dollars and often many of them.

The latest technologies — including ways of acquiring and collecting data, ways of storing that data, ways of analyzing and gaining insight from that data and ways of using that data to make better decisions — all come with a substantial financial commitment. And notice that the previous sentence spoke only of the costly pipelines for the data and nothing about the value of what flows through the pipelines.

If your company is considering taking advantage of the best that technology has to offer, you should also be thinking about the data that will make the delivery of these technologies meaningful and productive.

The management of data as an asset starts with the governance of that data.