We talk a lot about big data and business intelligence, and how these things can help you make better and more informed business decisions. The process of how that data is controlled in your store and on your campus — plus who has access to each data set — can be equally important to ensuring things are running smoothly and everyone is on the same page. While the concept of data governance may sound overly complicated or lack the excitement of what your data itself represents, Forbes argues that having a good system of governance in place can make all the difference in developing and utilizing actionable insights from your data.
Data is a shared asset
It is often stated that good fences make good neighbors. This principle applies to data as well. In complex organizations, agreed upon boundaries delineate ownership and areas of responsibility. In business, responsibility and ownership is commonly delineated by product categories, market segments, geographic regions, and internally by business functions. Data ownership and responsibility does not correspond to traditional business functions and boundaries, with the result that data management presents a profound challenge for most organizations.
A very high profile example, from the world of national security, illustrates this point. The 911 Commission faulted agencies of government – FBI, CIA, NSA, and the executive branch – for an unwillingness or inability to share vital security data across branches and agencies of government. The same challenges exist for any large organizations – corporations, universities, hospitals, state and local governments – that are faced with requirements to make data available for sharing.
Resolution of this challenge begins with the recognition that data is a ‘shared asset’, and must be treated as such. This is why data governance is essential – as a set of practices, policies, standards, and guideposts that provide a foundation for deriving value and insight from the data that an organization maintains. In the case of national security, effective data governance establishes a set of practices intended to afford us protection.— Helen A. S. Popkin, Forbes
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