Historically, most organizations viewed the data they collected as a byproduct of business processing; it wasn’t seen as having much intrinsic value on its own. While that data may have been used in post-process reporting or in other downstream applications, such uses were seen as “one-offs”.

Today, data and data analytics are increasingly viewed as essential elements of the business, its process models, and product capabilities. Capturing, analyzing and managing data better than the competition can give organizations a competitive advantage. The key lies in the organization’s data governance.

Exponential Increase in the Use and Importance of Data

As more organizations recognize the importance of data, the amount of data captured year-over-year is staggering. According to IDC estimates, data is growing at a rate of 40%/year, doubling every two years. In fact, by 2020, it’s estimated that 44 zettabytes (44 trillion gigabytes) of data will need to be managed. That’s a ten-fold increase over data managed in 2013!

The number of smart devices in use adds another factor. Gartner estimates that by 2020, there will be three times as many Internet of Things (IoT) devices online producing data as there are people on the planet. That number is only expected to grow.

The way businesses use data is also changing. It’s not unusual for ten or more applications to share data that has become a fundamental part of the company’s decision-making and strategy.

Of course, not all of the data organizations collect is useful; much of it is so-called “dark data” that does nothing but increase the cost and complexity of data management and governance.

Outdated Data Governance Methodologies May be Ineffective

Most organizations now recognize data’s changing role – and importance. However, many entities haven’t done anything to change the way they gather, share, maintain or manage their data. Without making changes, it will be nearly impossible to use growing and new data in meaningful ways.

Data governance must provide for fresh strategies, policies, protocols and protections that reflect the organization’s structure and the data it produces. In addition, methodologies for accessing, manipulating and purging data must also meet the organization’s changing needs as well as its business technology requirements, environment, and its goals and objectives.

Key Elements of Effective Data Governance

When reviewing and revising your organization’s data governance program, it should include the following elements:

  • Classification and Tagging. The way data is categorized and attributed is a critical part of optimizing it for search efforts, efficient capture, and recognizing “dark” data.
  • Policy Development. Well-planned data governance includes systemic and timely policies for all of the ways data is used across your organization, including its collection, usage, distribution, retention, retrieval, back-up and expiration.
  • Analytics. Effective data governance contemplates a coherent and effective way to map, size and track data stored across disparate platforms, applications and repositories, and to locate and use it effectively.
  • Machine Learning/AI. Implementing machine learning capabilities and algorithms allow your organization to mine and filter through vast amounts of data to get to what’s useful, while identifying patterns and connections.

Improving Data Governance Can Strengthen Regulatory Compliance Efforts

The type, volume, and importance of the data organizations use has changed dramatically in recent years. While that data can be a differentiating asset, it has also become the subject of regulatory and legal interest. Developing a holistic, well-articulated and well-managed framework and process can help your organization optimize data as a valuable business asset, limit unnecessary expenses and help ensure the company remains in compliance with regulatory requirements.

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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