Take a bite-size approach to data

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Marty Moseley
Marty Moseley

Data governance practices are essential for managing data as an asset. These practices establish repeatable, measurable business processes and manageable policies for improving data quality.

So why do companies continue to struggle with this practice when the proper management of company data will increase revenue, improve customer and partner relationships and company operations, and assist with regulatory compliance issues?

Many companies try to tackle all of their data governance issues in one swoop. This often becomes overwhelming and requires a time investment of several years with costs escalating before any true return is realized.

An effective data governance program includes the people, processes and policies necessary to create a single, consistent view of an enterprise's data. Instead of employing a top-down, all-or-nothing approach, which requires a complete shift in corporate culture, businesses are better served with an iterative approach to data governance. They should choose a smaller data set, like customer or product data, and focus their efforts on investigating and fixing it, then determine what worked and establish policies that can be used to tackle another data set.

This more cost-effective approach enables companies to secure immediate results within months instead of years, while putting into place the scaffolding needed to help manage data quality across all systems. It also allows companies to keep an eye on quarterly revenue while making gradual improvements that will ultimately have a favorable impact on the bottom line.

Businesses that combine this bite-size strategy with a strong team approach to data governance will be most successful. Businesses that see the value of a data governance initiative but are hesitant to begin the process because of concerns about costs or ROI cycles don't need to abandon their efforts. An iterative, focused approach enables an organization to realize success quickly, while establishing policies and creating frameworks that can be applied to other parts of the business in the future.

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