Tyler Warden, Vice President, Product Management, BackOffice Associates, examined data governance and its impact on digital transformation during his presentation to Argyle’s CIO membership at the 2018 Leadership in Big Data & Analytics Forum in Atlanta on April 26. In his presentation, “How Data Governance Enables Digital Transformation,” Warden provided details about how data governance can help a company distinguish itself from the competition and transform its digital operations.
Data governance and digital transformation often go hand-in-hand. If a company understands how to govern its data, this business can gain actionable insights to drive digital transformation.
The sheer volume of structured and unstructured data available to businesses creates many challenges. In some instances, businesses collect data from a wide range of sources and struggle to manage all of the information at their disposal. Or, companies may find it difficult to transform data sets into meaningful business insights.
Today’s businesses must have data governance policies in place. These policies enable a company to comply with various industry regulations. At the same time, data governance policies empower a company to keep pace with the broad assortment of data that is available.
Companies once managed a simple supply chain. However, today’s businesses must be able to track data across the supply chain. And if a company fails to do so, it risks costly, time-consuming mistakes.
“It used to be that you had a very simple supply chain … and now, we see a lot of demand-driven behavior,” Warden noted.
Furthermore, companies must define terms relative to data and analytics. Assorted data and analytics terms have different meanings based on the business. Fortunately, with definitions in place, a company can avoid confusion as it implements data governance policies across all departments.
“‘Sensor’ means a lot of different things to a lot of different people,” Warden pointed out. “[There is] a problem with semantic disambiguation … but you can drive a common language out of business operations.”
“[There is] a problem with semantic disambiguation … but you can drive a common language out of business operations.”
Data governance policies can help a company keep track to data changes too.
If a data set is modified, a company must be able to identify who was responsible for the change, when the change was made and other relevant details. Yet in certain instances, companies cannot track data changes.
With data governance policies, a company can ensure it tracks all of its data, at all times. That way, data governance policies can help a business streamline data management.
“The impact of data change is really tough, but governance can help,” Warden said. “Because the impact of change has to be known and the owners have to be known, but analysis can now be done upfront.”
Compliance is a key issue relative to data management. As companies search for ways to comply with industry regulations and the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), they require data governance policies to ensure sensitive data is secure.
Data governance policies may help a company curate data sets and secure its sensitive data. These policies empower a business to determine the best ways to manage its sensitive data, and ultimately, find ways to maximize the value of this information.
“Creating curated data sets is tough, and creating curated and trusted data sets is even tougher,” Warden stated. “We need to put policies, tools and procedures in place not to slow down [data management] but to speed up and go faster.”
“We need to put policies, tools and procedures in place not to slow down [data management] but to speed up and go faster.”
A company may need to drive a cultural change to improve data governance and foster digital transformation as well.
If a business understands the impact of data, it can govern this information effectively. Plus, a company can integrate processes and systems to ensure it is equipped to recover if data is lost or compromised.
“As data leaders, we’re very at seeing when something is broken,” Warden indicated. “We’re really good at reacting … but what culturally hurts us sometimes is not building a margin for recovery into our systems.”
Teaching employees about the importance of data governance can have far-flung effects on a company and its key stakeholders.
By developing a data governance training program, a company can allocate the necessary time and resources to teach workers how to properly manage data. This program can be updated regularly to help employees keep pace with new technologies or advanced data security threats.
A company also may want to consider gamification to educate workers about data governance. Gamification enables workers to earn rewards based on their skills and expertise, and as such, may prove to be an exceedingly valuable tool to teach employees about data governance.
“Building trust into the system so that if you do something good you’ll be recognized for it is a big way we can drive a cultural shift from the ground-up,” Warden said.