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Having inaccurate and faulty data can cause a lot of issues for an organization. A well-known example was when a navigation mishap occurred in 1999 because of a data transfer issue. One group of engineers measured using kilograms and meters, while a different group used pounds and feet. This failure unfortunately resulted in a fatal NASA spacecraft accident caused by confusion in data. However, space engineers are not the only ones who should be concerned about having consistent data. For any business that wants to be successful and avoid possible conflicts, they should start by developing a data governance strategy.

If you are not already familiar with data governance, we’ll give you a quick run-down. Data governance is a way to formally manage and interpret information, and is needed to create reliable information across a business’s enterprise. Collecting, identifying, storing and using data is all part of the long-term data governance process. If a data governance plan were put in place before the NASA spacecraft mission, the likelihood of a mix-up occurring might have been slim. Below we have outlined basic steps to successfully govern your data and avoid a potential catastrophe:

Analyze Your Current Situation
Make a list of all your systems and existing data elements to examine. Decide how data governance can bring the most benefit and maximum value to your organization.

Assign the Right People to Govern
Determine who will act as the data steward and have full access and responsibilities over your organization’s data. Your organization should work together but not everyone should have the same rights. Some employees may only need a small amount of access, while others might require access to very complex information.

Organize Company Training Sessions
Plan on holding a data and analytics training for all those in leadership and management positions. Management should be able to understand the fundamentals of big data or advanced analytics so that they are able to appropriately communicate to the rest of the organization.

Implement Common and Consistent Language
This is an important one! As in our space probe example, common language wasn’t being followed. You need to create consistent definitions and language so all conclusions are reliable across the enterprise. Make sure the processes, governance and policies are well defined and laid out for all employees.

Monitor and Adjust
Lastly, take a look at how your data governance strategy works within your organization and if you’re benefiting from your data. Monitor data-quality reports so you can make adjustments in your governance strategy, if necessary.

With data breaches occurring all over the world, data governance is extremely important to CIOs and CDOs. When you govern your data properly you minimize the risk of data security issues, regulatory fines, added expenses and data confusion. Have comments? Want to chat further about this topic? Write a comment below or tweet at us on Twitter!

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