Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Six Important Steps For Data Governance

Data is the most valuabe corporate asset and protecting that asset is primarily a management responsibility. Data has become the raw material or information taht ensures the continuation of a buisness and hence data governance is a strategic function. Another reason for protecting that data is also profits as well as non-profits have found that it helps also in the competitive advantage to add value to all the services and product offerings in their stable. Without going into advantages of mining that data for strategic business value additions I want to delve on the steps that a profit or a non-profit may want undertake in protecting this important resource.

1. Get a Governnace department going or identifying the individual that will be responsible for all data governance functions. A strong leadership in this area makes sure that value of data is conveyed to all quarters of the organization from top down. This person is reponsible not only about conveying that value but implementing stewardship policies that govern this important asset.

2. Identifying the redundancies and cutting the cost. The second step may be identifying the redundancies of data that comes in and flow through and churns out into information for decision making or value addition. If redundancies can be identified and eliminated that will bring costs down in maintaining that data. Focus areas will be resulting in more ease of accessing and storing of information and operational efficiency among staff.

3. Calculate the value of data in terms of its relation to your P&L. This is a metric function that the governance guy is responsible for. The value of data just like any other corporate asset changes over time based upon internal and external (market) conditions. This value is calculated based on the cost of IT services internal users pay for and value generated by revenues in terms of support or valu-addition.

4. Calculating Risk is next important step because it is an indicator how data may be compromised, loses it value in the future or losing its relevance. The strategies in this step involved combing the previous two steps in knowing what are internal operational inefficiences as well as exteranl operational threats that may be a risk for the data you are governning. This step involves also in calcualting the probability of risk and management of risk in terms of using tools of business intelligence, analyzing trends, past envents forecasting and overall policy management.

5. Implementation of Controls. This step involves the operational controls that you put in place for the stewardship of data. No one is excluded every corporate citizen internally is responsible and answerable to these policies. Practice often states that policy making at the top level tend to break their own rules of data governance controls and hence set themselves up for a fall. Controls should be routinely evaluaed in processes, process flows, information gathring and dissemination and if creating a bottleneck review and change over.

6. Finally Moniotring the efficiency of your controls .The last step is overlapped by step 5 in the sense so much of data governance is more a organizatioal response behavior that boils down to individual following the policies of data stewarship. Monitoring the control in place is thus more than just reviewing of the controls, it revewing of the people and expressing corrective measures in behavioral changes. This is where data governance becomes more that about data security, compliance and managing or assessing or risk. It is a compsoite discipline that bridges organizational functions and starategic management to ensure organizations own continuity in the marketplace.

Thoughts on important steps for successful data governance.

Sam Kurien

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