Posted by Trey Johnson on 19 May 2021
As your business grows and scales, your data likely becomes harder and harder to manage. From disparate data sources to unreliable reporting, data headaches abound without a clear and effective data governance strategy in place. So how can you optimize your data governance for more reliability, more effective output and less time and resources required to maintain it? We're here to help you get started in 8 simple steps...
It’s far easier to govern your data when it’s all in the same place; multiple sources and systems mean more places to check and manage. So the first step towards an effective data governance strategy is to consolidate your data sources.
This can be easily achieved through the use of data warehousing, where all your data from every source within your business is stored in a centralized location (either in the cloud or on-premise) for easier access, making them easier to govern.
(You may also be interested to check out the infographic "Is it time to automate your data governance?")
Access is the first point of call in data governance – it’s nigh on impossible to govern data effectively without a closely followed access policy. Whether your business is growing, you’re working with suppliers or you have multiple locations, managing access can be tricky, but it’s the most important step to get control over your data governance. Using effective data management tools will help you not just govern access but also automate permissions, saving you time and headache as your business grows.
Just as important as access is understanding what people are able to do with that access, especially where sharing is concerned. Especially with the recent rise in remote working, it’s important to understand what users are doing with your data and who has access to that output. This of course refers to file sharing, but it also includes social media, high profile cases, etc.
Metadata is such an important part of data governance, but it can feel difficult to control. With data management automation tools, you can create reliable rules for metadata that help you identify, define and classify all information and files within your organization.
(We also recommend reading "The Why's and How's of Automating your Data Governance")
It’s a tale as old as time: the IT department that spends so long unearthing the necessary data for a report due to siloes and legacy systems that, by the time they collate the data and create the report, it’s obsolete.
With data warehousing, however, the data is all in the same place and easily accessed by the right people, already in the appropriate format for reporting. In fact, sometimes the data doesn’t require manipulation at all – the data warehouse can connect directly to your BI tools. This drastically reduces the probability of human error, aiding data governance as it applies to your BI strategy.
Self-service BI is most IT departments’ dream; imagine never having to prepare data for a report again! But sometimes, data visualization tools implemented at the user level can actually exacerbate problems with data governance. If the BI tools differ throughout the organization, this can create different versions of the truth, which affects output and often even data input, turning the self-service BI dream into a data management nightmare.
Organization-wide data governance tools and policies can help to mitigate this issue, especially if tools can be standardized across departments. Data management automation and data warehousing then makes true self-service BI a possibility without compromising the integrity of the data being used or created in the process.
(You might also like "Why Self-Service BI Needs Self-Service ERP and CRM Data Management")
Data governance isn’t just about security or standards; it’s about quality. And when your data is reliably high-quality, it allows you to analyze and interpret it in ways you would have hesitated to try before. These valuable, cross-functional, business-wide insights are what enable better business decisions, allowing the organization to grow and scale more effectively. Finally, IT can have a demonstrable hand in moving the needle for the business as a whole!
Once the data governance strategy is crafted, implemented and – where possible – automated, it frees up time and resource for IT to focus on key initiatives and innovation, knowing that the data fueling those possibilities is reliable and well managed.
(Want to save a copy of this blog post? Download the full whitepaper version "8 Steps to Conquer Data Governance in ERP Reporting")
Trey is Chief Evangelist and leader of ZAP’s Americas business with a background of 25 years working with SQL Server and Microsoft Data Platform technologies. His other roles include being an industry speaker, published author, a former Board Member of the PASS organization, member of Microsoft’s Advisory Councils and community enthusiast for the last two decades.
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