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3 Tips for Effective Data Governance in 2021

Proper management of Salesforce data can be the difference between a successful business, and one that simply gets by. The insights and trends that can be found by compiling and analyzing data point to new directions for a business, or a renewed focus on certain aspects.

2021 is already seeing the beginnings of a data revolution. Companies are increasing their usage of cloud computing, maintaining a higher level of focus on compliance, and becoming increasingly reliant on AI and automation.

Data is at the center of all these considerations. And data governance is how a business can make the most of this data.

Data governance is a combination of principles and practices that are aimed at maintaining a quality pool of data.

Every business wants to grow. And this expansion will see and influx of new data. Systems and practices for compiling and storing that are consistent, manageable, and secure can provide a variety of benefits to a company.

Effective data governance supports growth, aids compliance with data regulations, and enhances the quality, consistency, and accuracy of your data.

Strong data helps make well-informed planning decisions, which:

  • Improves reporting capabilities
  • Helps inform automation deployment
  • Provides oversight for corporate assets
  • Improves efficiency in procurement
  • Aids compliance by meeting legal requirements
  • Provides insight for marketing efforts

So how do you manage your company’s data in a way that will provide these benefits?

Every industry and company will have different considerations, goals, and metrics relating to their Salesforce data. However, the basic structure of data governance will remain the same. General, overarching ideas can be tailored to every individual case.

What do you need to keep in mind when planning an effective data governance strategy in 2021?

Here three essential aspects of data governance that you will need to address:

  1. Appoint a Data Governance Team
  2. Establish a Framework
  3. Maintain a Focus on Data Protection and Privacy

1. Appoint a Data Governance Team
Data governance is a continued effort. Even once the systems and protocols are in place, there will still need to be dedicated people to oversee the operation. And while the size of your team will be dictated by the size of your organization, there should be individuals to fulfill these essential duties.

A senior executive should be nominated to oversee the company’s data governance efforts. Their main duty will be to keep the rest of the team focused and unified. They will also dictate and track progress on goals for considerations such as return on investment (ROI) and security. Successful efforts should be reinforced, and unsuccessful efforts should be re-examined.

Leaders in Various Departments
A designated individual in each department will be in charge of establishing and implementing data governance efforts. Areas such as IT, marketing, and finance departments will have varying sets of Salesforce data to be managed and tracked. These department leaders will work with the senior executive to oversee the processes.

Representatives within each department will have various roles in keeping data governance efforts consistent throughout the organization. Collaboration plays a large part in a successful strategy. These roles can be split into three sections.

  • Data Owners: Monitors data quality as it moves throughout business data supply chain. Makes sure data is handled according to the organization’s procedures and meets regulatory requirements.
  • Data Stewards: Analyzes the available data and produces reports.
  • Data Users: Interprets the collected data while adhering to the organization’s guidelines.

2. Establish a Framework
A framework of operations will need to be designed. These are the rules and processes your company will use for collecting, storing, and using data.

The framework defines who will fulfill the above roles, as well as their exact duties. The processes involved with gathering and storing the data will be stipulated, ensuring uniform handling of data across all areas of the business.

Clear descriptions of these processes and roles will streamline the data governance system.

The resulting data sets will make it much easier for people to find and use Salesforce data. Analyzing the gathered data helps to locate and define patterns in customer behavior, company expenditures, and potential security liabilities. A clear supply chain for data will also increase accountability.

Metrics will be established for:

  • Key Data Elements
  • Key Quality Indicators
  • Risk and Privacy Metrics
  • Rules Relating to Data Quality
  • Policies and Processes

Three major aspects of the process should be addressed in every data governance strategy:

1. Discovery of Data: Define the data, where it comes from, its relationship to your organization, metadata, classification, etc.

2. Execution of Governance: Define essential process components:

  • Manage data quality
  • Address data issues
  • Establish data owners
  • a catalog
  • Protect privacy
  • Aid data literacy
  • Deliver the data

3. Monitor the Processes: Use the results to optimize the process. This will increase trust, security, and privacy.

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3. Maintain a Focus on Data Protection and Privacy

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a data protection and privacy law that applies to businesses in the European Union, or outside agencies that do business within the European Union. Those that fall into this category are required to follows the guidelines.

However, every business would do well to place an importance on data protection and privacy, regardless of legal liabilities.

Everyone’s data—your employees, customers, vendors, etc.—is important. Trust is an essential aspect to a great relationship with the various groups that make a successful company. Failure to live up to this expected level of trust can be damaging.

A proper data governance strategy will institute policies that protect this essential and sensitive information. This applies to the collection, storage, and deletion of data, as well as who has access to it and why.

There must be a defined and justifiable reason for every interaction with your data.

Things to Keep in Mind
An effective data governance strategy is one that will be tracked, measured, and adjusted over time.

Here are 8 quick tips to keep in mind as you build and manage your data governance strategy:

    1. Remember your strategy doesn’t need to be set in stone. Start small and build your framework.
    2. Establish goals and use them to measure success.
    3. Clearly define each member’s role and responsibilities.
    4. Clearly define terms to be used and elements to be measured.
    5. Tailor your framework to your specific needs, operations, and goals.
    6. Collaboration, tracking, and storage of data require a dedicated infrastructure of tools and attention.Establish this infrastructure early and adjust it as your needs evolve.
    7. Track and create reports on ROI, compliance, risk, and growth.
    8. Communicate clearly and frequently with team members.

Data provides essential information that can be used to assist in making important decisions and analyze current operations.

Data governance is how you maintain secure and beneficial collections of Salesforce data. Taking the time to build out a framework can provide benefits to your company for years to come.