Computing Magazine

Why Data Governance is the Unsung Hero of Digital Transformation

Posted on the 19 May 2016 by Discerningdigital @DigiDiscern

As our digital world and its abundant benefits grow, so does the volume of data we are producing.
IDC’s 2014 report ‘The Digital Universe of Opportunities: Rich Data and the Increasing Value of the Internet of Things’ reveals the digital world is doubling in size every two years. By 2020 we will have produced a staggering 44 trillion gigabytes of data.
However, where there is digital opportunity, so too exists digital risk.

Research released by the Department for Media, Culture and Sport reveals that two thirds of large UK businesses have experienced issues with cyber security breaches, placing vital business and customer data at risk.
Even more concerning is the news that only a third of the UK’s top 350 businesses even understand the threat of a cyber attack; with only a fifth of businesses having a clear view of the dangers of sharing information with third parties.

Data governance in digital transformation

Digital transformation is a complex discipline that involves technological, procedural and cultural change, many elements of which are well documented.
Working with exciting new technologies, inspiring cultural and skills change and connecting with our customers are gloriously discussed. Less frequently is it reported that good data governance underpins almost all aspects of successful transformation and can save your business money.

The Digital Data Risk

The consequences of a data security issue can be severe.
Last year, a data breach of telecom Talk Talk made the national news, detailing the hacking of the personal details of 157,000 customers, which included 28,000 credit and debit card numbers.
More recently, a London clinic was fined £180,000 for an accidental email leak which revealed sensitive treatment details for over 700 patients.
Good data governance is a key part of digital transformation. Penalties for improper use and storage of data can be hefty, not to mention the damage a breach can do to your customer relationships.

...And The Digital Data Opportunity

The good news is that data governance also presents invaluable opportunities for your business.

Mitigating the risks associated with data can offer valuable costs savings now and in the future, protecting you from the potential costs of managing a security breach.

What’s more encouraging, however, is to consider unmined data as a source of potential opportunities. We’ve had more than one client identify key new areas of investment as a result of analysing data. Properly understanding your data can open up new revenue opportunities, e.g. better tracking of your digital customer journey could increase web sales.
The starting point is a thorough review of data entering and exiting your business. This type of work is highly individualised between businesses but some important questions to ask include:

  • How does data flow through my business? How secure is each part of this process?
  • Are my suppliers or third party vendors compliant with the latest data management requirements? You could find yourself liable for security breaches which occur along your supply chain.
  • Where do we store this data and who has access to it? From customer details to employee records to data generated within your processes, you need people in place
    with the right accreditations who understand how to keep you up to date with legislation.
  • How well do you understand your data? It’s not all doom, gloom and compliance - data presents enormous potential. Investing in data analysis could provide you with unexplored opportunities and give you vital evidence to support proposed work.

The data opportunity in digital transformation

The Hidden Values of Digital Transformation

Data governance is one of those unsexy but vital parts of digital transformation.
Not all aspects of digital transformation open up brand new revenue streams - understanding and managing your data is one of those aspects that will protect your business, your reputation and your customer relationships, not to mention safeguarding your legal responsibilities and opening you up to exciting new opportunities.

Digital Transformation Checklist

(This article was originally published on Manchester Digital).

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