As organizations are streaming data at an explosive rate in the digital business world today, it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to manage, protect, mine, and make it available to the right audience at the right time.
As many have quoted earlier, the data generated and collected by companies is like a gold mine. If the right data at the right time to the right people can help organizations grow faster and make intelligent decisions, confidential data to the wrong people can be equally detrimental. Caution needs to be exercised to avoid presenting wrong or incorrect data to the right people, as it can lead to faulty decision making.
In short, data has to be properly processed via various well-defined guidelines to make it “valuable” information. However, organizations need to be careful to ensure they don’t spend too much time processing the information because time is equally critical. In the current world of Fast Data, three pillars define the value of information: right data to the right person at the right time.
There is so much stress on right, whether it is related to data, audience, or time, but who defines this? In most organizations, CIOs are mainly responsible for coming up with a data governance program. However, decisions and outcomes from such a program affect everyone whether it’s C-level executives, legal, IT, or end users. Hence, to implement a successful data governance program, it’s critical to get support and buy-in from all corporate leaders. Building a strong business case that links ROI from data management initiative to KPI’s that these leaders care about would influence corporate leaders from different departments to collaborate towards the success of this program.
Other than getting support from C-level colleagues, CIOs have to consider following five points to maintain the balance between empowering users with information and keeping it secure.
1. Data storage: Data is growing at such rapid pace. Policies need to be enforced to define clearly how much and for what length of time information will be stored while maintaining the security of the data.
2. Verity of data: Information is only valuable when it is correct. All the data coming into the organization needs to be verified, cleaned, and consolidated. Instead of operating an ad hoc manual process for data governance, companies should leverage Master Data Management technology to automate data quality checks and build consistent standards and rules to measure quality and establish accountability. A simple example is to enforce data quality checks at the point of entry by executing automated business data rules or standards. CIOs have to ensure that the business and IT work together to come up with well-defined rules. To drive accountability, set automatic alerts or notifications to data owners when data correction or approval is required.
3. Defining the right audience: Today, everyone in the organization wants access to any possible information they feel will empower them to make better decisions. However, CIOs have to ensure that they are not breaching any law by providing information to certain people. For example, if information related to fiscal status is shared with everyone in the company, it will influence their decision to buy company’s stocks accordingly. It’s critical to define policies around insider trading.
4. Safeguarding confidential data: There has never been more data recorded in human history than right now. Some of this data is very confidential and cannot be shared externally. CIOs have to come up with policies to restrict access to such information. Defining these policies is not an easy job as it hinders many others from critical information that will help them in their day-to-day jobs, so keeping a balance is important.
5. Monitoring data exchange: With the advent of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Quora, Glassdoor, etc., employees of the company can knowingly or unknowingly share private company related information. At times, this can allow competitors to gauge critical information and use it to their advantage. It is essential to come up with very clear policies around data sharing and at the same time monitor company-related information floating around the web.
Data governance can be tailored to meet an organization’s specific needs, ensuring the efficient and effective use of data while enabling users to make smarter business decisions. It requires a good blend of people, processes, and technology.