Effectively managing data privacy and security is a high-stakes matter. When an organization doesn’t get it right, it often becomes front-page news and occasionally becomes a subject of litigation. Yet organizations face an equally challenging imperative to ensure that business users have easy access to the data they need. Depending on how they are implemented, data governance policies can inhibit access to data, making it harder to find and utilize the data assets of an organization.
Optimizing information management — the acquisition, organization, control, dissemination and use of information — has for decades been a key component of improving organizational performance. Today’s information architectures have grown significantly to accommodate an unprecedented deluge of data spread across cloud computing instances and the enterprise. To compete effectively, organizations must rise to the challenge of deploying and maintaining applications, data and analytics across a myriad of business processes involving customers, products, sales and finance.
To better understand these challenges and opportunities, we have just launched new benchmark research, Trends in Data Governance. We’ll explore ways that organizations are making information more accessible while also retaining appropriate controls over the use of data. We also seek to understand how they are addressing difficulties in establishing data governance policies that align information systems with business priorities and comply with regulations, and how they are executing data governance processes in their management of IT assets, processes and personnel.
When done properly, data governance empowers organizations to proactively set strategy and policies about data rather than just put out fires or respond to “squeaky wheels.” It brings together processes that too often are disconnected and uncoordinated. These processes include cataloging the data used by the organization and ensuring its quality and availability, cleansing and validating the data as well as the establishment of business rules and policies on sharing and making changes to data. Data governance also includes managing master data used throughout the organization.
IT management often dominates data governance teams, but our research consistently finds that business is substantially involved, both in guiding the data governance team’s efforts and in its funding. These teams’ top objectives are to design and maintain policies and rules to address data quality and consistency. Organizations have told us their top concerns are understanding data issues and improving data quality and consistency. Previous research on this topic finds that almost half of organizations update their policies once or twice a year, and one-fourth do so quarterly; the majority, however, are unsatisfied with the frequency of updates. This research examines the current state of data governance teams, their concerns and how they operate.
In addition, we find that in data governance, as is so often the case in our research on an array of business processes, the use of spreadsheets is an obstacle. In the past, spreadsheets were among the tools most often used for data governance, yet the use of spreadsheets is a data governance concern in three-fourths of organizations, and only 18 percent of them have policies to address spreadsheet issues. This research examines the role of spreadsheets and other software in the data governance process.
The benchmark research thus will deliver detailed insights into the thinking of executives and data governance teams to help understand key pain points and priorities for enhancing the capabilities and performance of data governance. We will assess the relationship between data governance teams and other parts of the organization and identify where data stewards must focus their efforts to better fulfill a more strategic role. We expect this benchmark research to educate those interested in data governance, identify business opportunities in this area and to help vendors gauge the receptiveness of research participants to new technologies.
This research also will uncover the best practices that innovative companies are using and how they intend to improve their performance in the coming years. It will examine the issues data governance teams face in managing day-to-day responsibilities, evolving expectations for their role and their visions of the future.
Click here to participate in this research, and here to learn more about Ventana Research’s methodology and large body of data and analytics research. Over the past 15 years, Ventana Research has conducted a broad range of related market research on data preparation, big data for business, analytics and data, machine learning, data lakes and the internet of things. We’ve examined the deployment and use of analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning, planning and forecasting, spreadsheets and collaboration. The breadth of this research over more than a decade has given us insight into trends that affect IT departments and the needs of other parts of the organization. Our research findings have consistently found a connection between not using the right software (or using appropriate technology improperly) and not performing well.