We’re in the age of… big data, artificial intelligence, internet of things, always-on technology, and on and on. We’re in the age of tech. We, and our things, are driven by analytics and data. Have you noticed the ads lately while you’re on the internet? How catered are they to one of your last internet searches? Businesses are amassing customer data from transactions to searches and more.
Sure, big businesses have to deal with data proliferation, fed by bigger budgets. But data matters to small businesses, too. And the guiding force behind the way that data is handled and gathered and used is important for businesses large and small. This is where data governance comes in.
What is it and why is it important for businesses of all sizes?
Data governance is the framework your organization creates to support business strategy and policies for your valuable information, from trade secrets to customer data to accounting data. With it as a guide, you define everything from data access to password management to cyber security. It can feel daunting. Because it is! It’s been a hot topic in the IT industry for years, and even the experts have reported in recent years that “data governance maturity is only 1.6 out of 5,” according to Informatica.
Here are some tips to take into consideration as you create the appropriate data governance framework for your small business.
- Respect the value of your data. We are now in a data economy. Its value has overtaken oil, the commodity that was the world’s most valuable resource a decade ago. Do you treat it as such? How are you safeguarding your data? What protection do you have in place? Do you train your employees to understand its value?
- Understand the difference between governance and management. Two clear, precisely different definitions come from a publication put out by the SAS Institute. “Data governance is the decision rights and policy making for corporate data, while data management is the tactical execution of those policies.” Your data governance should be driven by business goals while the management falls under the ownership of IT.
- Define your governance based on no IT staff or experience. Small businesses often have little or no IT staff. This should not be an impediment for good, data governance. Only a consideration. To do this, be aware of the terms and jargon used. Avoid being too technical or creating a complicated framework that cannot be understood by any member of the staff, technical or not.
- Fail and move on. Many businesses of all sizes fail multiple times building their program. It’s not an area where you can give up, though. Your data won’t. It will only grow and expand and be more valuable and require more protection from cyber threats.
- This is not an IT project. Related to our third tip, the point of this tip is to really push the importance that data governance is not a user story to throw at a group of developers. It is based on business functions. For small businesses, especially, it should involve many, if not most, employees. People need to be involved and working with the processes and technology.
We are in a great position here at ORAM to provide awesome support for our small business partners with their data governance framework. We’d love to help you build or remodel yours. We also have tools to help support yours, if it’s already in place. Whether your data governance goals cover customer-driven analytics, meeting compliance requirements or ensuring up-to-date cyber security, we can help you achieve the best results. Contact us today for a free evaluation. Better data is our job!