Changes Ahead: What’s Trending in Data Governance

If anyone doubts the importance of data governance in 2017, consider this: McDonald’s will now track, evaluate and act on the fries we eat … or don’t eat.

That’s just the tip of one trend in data management you’ll see in the coming months.

Collecting and analyzing data allows companies to customize what they do for employees, customers and the public. And here are four of the trends – some small, some seismic – we should see in how they govern their data this year.

Organize More, Search Less

Most organizations believe in gathering, storing and analyzing data. But many struggle to see or explain the return on investment (ROI) for data governance. Why? Because the data isn’t as organized as it could be.

Take, for example, McDonald’s. As written in the Chicago Tribune, the fast food chain has been gathering data around the world for decades. It collects data in real-time throughout Japan and France, where an app allows customers to order and pay from their mobile phones. Based on what they order, the app can give them suggestions to purchase additional items like milkshakes.

But this strategy hasn’t been as popular in the U.S. So American customer data isn’t as well defined and organized as McDonald’s would like.

“Well-defined and organized data means having the right data at the right time to resolve and align business goals,” says Jeff Shortis on Data3Sixty.

The goal will soon be for companies to spend more time organizing data under their governance plans, so they can spend less time searching for it or assessing its quality and usability.

Keep it Private

The protection of personal information is a hot topic across various business functions. In 2017 and beyond, the people behind data governance will also be at the forefront of managing the privacy of personal and proprietary information.

Data governance plans will increasingly overlap with (or encompass) risk and compliance functions. Security breaches will be the primary focus of all people involved in these three areas.

Mainstream headlines tell us that breaches of data privacy are serious business. Data is compromised nearly every day. So, there’s extra urgency for companies to stay in compliance with industry or government requirements.

This year, effective, top-notch data governance plans will focus on creating enough data transparency to stay in compliance, including guidelines for data storage and access, and retention and destruction policies – while keeping sensitive information safe from security threats.

Make Room for Chief Data Officer and Teams

With the growing focus on data governance, compliance and risk, a Chief Data Officer (CDO) will join the ranks of the Chief Compliance and Risk Officers.

Gartner predicts that 90% of large companies will have a CDO by the end of 2019, especially in highly regulated industries such as health care and banking.

The CDO will be responsible for implementing and monitoring data governance policies. The strength behind the position won’t be in governing the information. It’ll be in advocating the value of the data and helping all areas of the company capitalize on the available information.

With the emergence of the CDO, data governance teams will follow. The teams – often comprising people from existing units within the company – will help identify best practices for data governance and the best ways to integrate and align the data into the organization.

Newly formed teams and those in their infancy can find some guidance in Oracle’s white paper All the Ingredients for Success: Data Governance,  Data Quality and Master Data Management.

Build Policies for Cloud, Mobile and Social

The cloud gives companies a lightweight, agile tool to deliver the right information to the right people at the right time. Companies and their data users like data in the cloud because it’s accessible on multiple devices and browsers, so people aren’t tied to onsite workstations to access information.

But the growing use of the cloud calls for more governance, according to Paramita Ghosh of Dataversity. The cloud can put data at higher risk than if it was stored onsite. More oversight and policies will be needed in the rapidly growing cloud area.

The same can be said for data that’s gathered and distributed via mobile apps and social media platforms. Companies are often quick to launch anything associated with mobile and social, but they don’t frame and implement governance policies. Without that, the data can be tough to manage and control.

Back to the McDonald’s situation: The fast-food giant currently uses its U.S. app to deliver coupons and help customers find locations. It’s only just starting to track mobile orders, which McDonald’s hopes will help the app suggest more purchases for customers. But it’s a lot of data, and even McDonald’s is struggling to handle and govern all of it – which illustrates the scope of the challenge ahead for all companies this year.

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