The Importance of Data Governance

Julius Cerniauskas | September 7, 2021 | 30 views

Data has settled into regular business practices. Executives in every industry are looking for ways to optimize processes through the implementation of data. Doing business without analytics is just shooting yourself in the foot.

Yet, global business efforts to embrace data-transformation haven't had resounding success. There are many reasons for the challenging course, however, people and process management has been cited as the common thread.

A combination of people touting data as the “new oil” and everyone scrambling to obtain business intelligence has led to information being considered an end in itself. While the idea of becoming a data-driven organization is extremely beneficial, the execution is often lacking. In some areas of business, action over strategy can bring tremendous results.

However, in data governance such an approach often results in a hectic period of implementations, new processes, and uncoordinated decision-making. What I propose is to proceed with a good strategy and sound data governance principles in mind.

Auditing data for quality

Within a data governance framework, information turns into an asset. Proper data governance is essentially informational accounting. There are numerous rules, regulations, and guidelines to make governance ensure quality.

While boiling down the process into one concept would be reductionist, by far the most important topic in all information management and governance is data quality. Data quality can be loosely defined as the degree to which data is accurate, complete, timely, consistent, adherent to rules and requirements, and relevant.

Generally, knowledge workers (i.e. those who are heavily involved in data) have an intuitive grasp of when data quality is lacking. However, pinpointing the problem should be the goal. Only if the root cause, which is generally behavioral or process-based rather than technical, of the issue is discovered can the problem be resolved.

Lack of consistent data quality assurance leads to the same result with varying degrees of terribleness - decision making based on inaccurate information. For example, mismanaging company inventory is most often due to lack of data quality. Absence of data governance is all cost and no benefit. In the coming years, the threat of a lack of quality assurance will only increase as more businesses try to take advantage of data of any kind.

Luckily, data governance is becoming a more well-known phenomenon. According to a survey we conducted with Censuswide, nearly 50% of companies in the financial sector have put data quality assurement as part of their overall data strategy for the coming year.

Data governance prerequisites

Information management used to be thought of as an enterprise-level practice. While that still rings true in many cases today, overall data load within companies has significantly risen in the past few years. With the proliferation of data-as-a-service companies and overall improvement in information acquisition, medium-size enterprises can now derive beneficial results from implementing data governance if they are within a data-heavy field.

However, data governance programs will differ according to several factors. Each of these will influence the complexity of the strategy:
  • Business model - the type of organization, its hierarchy, industry, and daily activities.
  • Content - the volume, type (e.g. internal and external data, general information, documents, etc.) and location of content being governed.
  • Federation - the extent and intensity of governance.

Smaller businesses will barely have to think about the business model as they will usually have only one. Multinational corporations, on other hand, might have several branches and arms of action, necessitating different data governance strategies for each.

However, the hardest prerequisite for data governance is proving its efficacy beforehand. Since the process itself deals with abstract concepts (e.g. data as an asset, procedural efficiency), often only platitudes of “improved performance” and “reduced operating costs” will be available as arguments. Regardless of the distinct data governance strategy implemented, the effects become visible much later down the line. Even then, for people who have an aversion to data, the effects might be nearly invisible.

Therefore, while improved business performance and efficiency is a direct result of proper data governance, making the case for implementing such a strategy is easiest through risk reduction. Proper management of data results in easier compliance with laws and regulations, reduced data breach risk, and better decision making due to more streamlined access to information.

“Why even bother?”

Data governance is difficult, messy, and, sometimes, brutal. After all, most bad data is created out of human behavior, not technical error. That means telling people they’re doing something wrong (through habit or semi-intentional action). Proving someone wrong, at times repeatedly, is bound to ruffle some feathers.

Going to a social war for data might seem like overkill. However, proper data governance prevents numerous invisible costs and opens up avenues for growth. Without it, there’s an increased likelihood of:
  • Costs associated with data. Lack of consistent quality control can lead to the derivation of unrealistic conclusions. Noticing these has costs as retracing steps and fixing the root cause takes a considerable amount of time. Not noticing these can cause invisible financial sinks.
  • Costs associated with opportunity. All data can deliver insight. However, messy, inaccurate, or low-quality data has its potential significantly reduced. Some insights may simply be invisible if a business can’t keep up with quality.

Conclusion

As data governance is associated with an improvement in nearly all aspects of the organization, its importance cannot be overstated. However, getting everyone on board and keeping them there throughout the implementation will be painful. Delivering carefully crafted cost-benefit and risk analyses of such a project will be the initial step in nearly all cases.

Luckily, an end goal to all data governance programs is to disappear. As long as the required practices and behaviors remain, data quality can be maintained. Eventually, no one will even notice they’re doing something they may have considered “out of the ordinary” previously.

Spotlight

SDG Group

SDG Group is a global management consulting firm, having a leading vision in the practices of Business Intelligence, Corporate Performance Management and Collaborative Business Analytics. SDG has become a centre of excellence in the end-to-end assignments of modelling and implementing solutions, supporting business processes and areas as: CFO Services, Omnichannel Intelligence integration, Big Data governance, Predictive & Streaming analytics.Bringing more than 20 years of experience in Planning & Controlling, Financial Reporting, Operational Performance Management and Marketing projects, SDG has developed and fine tuned its innovative Management Intelligence practice to each industry’s needs, unlocking and enabling new ways to better manage their specific analytics requirements.

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Nordisk Film Adopts Qlik Cloud Analytics for Operational Efficiencies and Reduced Costs

Qlik | August 10, 2022

Qlik® today announced Nordisk Film, the Nordic region's leading creator and distributor of films, has adopted Qlik Cloud® Analytics to realize operational efficiencies, reduce costs associated with data preparation and analysis, and ultimately expand data-decision making throughout the organization. Nordisk Film is known as an industry innovator at the forefront of adopting modern technology and solutions that foster new, improved ways of working. Over the last five years, Nordisk Film has been on a journey to deploy strategies that meet modern consumer demands while leveraging fact-based decisions. Nordisk Film’s prior business intelligence systems required significant maintenance, service, and dedicated storage space and memory. This made the system difficult for users to work with and limited Nordisk’s ability to scale the use of data for decisions. Nordisk Film was also looking to increase collaboration and streamline its different computer systems and data warehouses into a single cloud platform. Nordisk Film chose to move to Qlik Cloud for importing, clearing and analyzing data in order to make more informed business decisions while leveraging Qlik Sense® SaaS. “Previously we spent a lot of time with maintenance and making sure our internal systems worked. “We migrated our old local platform to a Qlik environment, saving us time and allowing us to take advantage of the latest technical developments and improve our data structure for a more mature approach to analytics.” Mikkel Hecht Hansen, Head of BI at Nordisk Film For Nordisk Film, it is important to have a cost-effective and scalable platform, while also being able to leverage modern analytics capabilities such as augmented analytics and mobile access. “Qlik has given us a completely different dimension of new knowledge and opportunities through, among other things, Insight Advisor. Along with an easy and simple security login through Azure AD, Qlik gives us many insights and data-driven facts that help us make better decisions,” said Hansen. Insight Advisor is the AI assistant built into Qlik Sense that generates advanced analytics and insights using natural language interaction for Nordisk analytics users. Another key innovation in Qlik’s platform that is bringing value to Nordisk is Collaborative Notes, which allows employees to comment or write longer reports directly in the analytics environment. And Qlik being easy-to-learn and applicable to many different business areas has helped Nordisk Film expand analytics adoption across the business. “Nordisk Film is a great example of an incredible brand that is leveraging Qlik Cloud to accelerate its transformation into a data-driven business,” said Francisco Mateo-Sidron, Senior Vice President EMEA for Qlik. “We look forward to helping Nordisk continue to expand its ability to leverage cloud analytics for impact throughout the entire organization.” About Nordisk Film Nordisk Film is a leading Nordic entertainment and experience company focused on storytelling across platforms. We produce, market and distribute film and series, operate a leading Nordic cinema chain, is behind global game studios and PlayStation in the Nordics, and delivers digital gift card solutions to the world. Nordisk Film is a part of the leading Nordic media group Egmont, together with Story House Egmont, TV 2 in Norway, Lindhardt og Ringhof og Cappelen Damm. Egmont is a foundation, and all profits are used to develop media and to help children and young people and support film talents. We bring stories to life. About Qlik Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud®, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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