The way businesses use data has changed dramatically in recent years. Instead of simply being a byproduct of business processing, firms are using data and smart technologies to inform their businesses and increase productivity. Companies like Google, Amazon, Uber and other “new generation” firms are using smart data to enhance utility and increase capabilities. In addition, the growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and expanded use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices are only expected to accelerate the rate of change.

While this growth and transformation of data brings a wealth of potential benefits and opportunities to businesses, it’s not without challenges, dangers and potential liabilities. Organizations must develop holistic, well-articulated and well-managed frameworks, permissions and processes. Failure to do so could result in sub-optimization of an extremely valuable business asset while limiting growth and exposing the business to potential legal, financial and/or regulatory risks and costs.

Organizations Need Comprehensive, Ongoing Data Governance Programs

In many organizations, there is a heavy focus on the IT aspects of how to store and backup data, without addressing how to make data more agile and usable. To use data effectively, organizations need to implement comprehensive, fresh, adaptable and ongoing data governance and management programs.

In a recent blog post, we identified several key components of such a program, including the following:

  • New data strategies, policies, protocols, protections and manipulation/access/purging methodologies tuned to match current needs and goals.
  • A Clear Business Plan with benefits and goals, and a view of future needs.
  • Classification and Tagging – the attributes essential to assessing data value,  data gathering, and search optimization and the trimming of dark data.
  • Policy Development and Enforcement – new, intelligent, timely and systemic approaches for the retention, collection, distribution, usage, retrieval, expiration and back-up of data across the organization.
  • Data and Analytics -effective mapping, sizing, tracking, and authorizations to enable usage and facilitate compliance needs across the organization.
  • Machine Learning/AI and Search Context – capabilities and algorithms to enable automated methods to quickly to quickly identify and extract desired data.

However, Data Governance and Transformation is about change management, and all transformation requires organizational and behavioral change to be successful. Unfortunately, that’s not easy to do; the majority of transformational change initiatives are unsuccessful. Much of this failure has been attributed to an overemphasis by leaders on following rigid processes, and an underappreciation of peoples’ needs and challenges.

Develop a Business Plan and a Related Implementation Plan

For any organizational change project to have support, it needs to be anchored in honest business value that can be easily quantified (think: savings, growth/revenue potential, productivity, etc.) Your business plan and implementation plan will form the foundation for your Data Governance Program.

The program also needs to include the elements listed above, including enough flexibility to allow for reasonable changes, as needed. While it should be long-lived and include actionable milestones, the program’s tools and capabilities, and the rules of governance will likely change over time.

Rather than being managed entirely by the IT department, your Information Governance Program needs to be multidisciplinary, with both the business function(s) and IT as equal participants.

Senior Management Support and Participation

Your organization’s leaders need to be visible, active and enthusiastic supporters and participants in your Information Governance Program. They should also demonstrate the behaviors of the programs, its protocols and approaches.

When managers are enthusiastic champions of your program and demonstrate financial and talent commitment to the program’s goals, everyone in your organization will see the program’s importance.

Comprehensive Training Programs Can Ease Implementation

Management participation in your Data Governance Program’s training initiatives should also be welcomed. The program will undoubtedly introduce new concepts, processes, protocols, requirements, responsibilities and tools to your teams; a comprehensive and thoughtful training program can make implementation smoother and easier.

Of course, because your Data Governance Program is an ongoing initiative, your training must be able to adapt to changes.

Over time, employees and managers alike will see the benefits and improvements in productivity, ease of access and new product and business potential that a successful Data Governance Program can bring.

Norwell Technology Group and Congruity360 Can Help

If you have questions or wish to learn more about how to develop an effective data governance approach for your specific business and situation, Norwell Technology Group and Congruity360 can help.

We’ll work with you to identify your top priorities and risks, and develop cost-effective solutions designed to protect and better manage your crucial data assets – and your business. To learn more, contact Norwell Technology Group today online, or call us at (877) 277-9648.

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