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3 ways organizations can more effectively manage their data

Two business woman sitting at a desk and looking at a laptop, backdropped by a board with charts and figures

By Awah Teh, vice president of Data Governance & Privacy Engineering, Capital One 

Over the last decade, companies have invested heavily to collect and store zettabytes of data. Organizations today may have tons of data, but they are still figuring out the best ways to fully unleash its transformative potential. As data proliferates, there remain challenges that make it difficult for companies to harness its power at scale, including the evolving landscape of data management and governance.

Capital One was founded on using data and analytics to tailor products to customers' needs. Since then, we've built a data ecosystem that serves as a core foundation for our business. Of course, a data ecosystem needs to have a lot of data, but this does little good if the data cannot be governed, accessed by the right people, and used to inform critical decisions.

This is where the importance of effective data management comes into play. With strong data management, employees with appropriate access from across the company can unlock insights from data that improve the customer experience or positively impact how the business operates. Well-managed data also enables organizations to effectively leverage emerging technologies, such as advances in AI, to drive even more innovation.

While not exhaustive, I'll share some of today's best practices for strong data management that can help organizations use data to make more strategic decisions while positioning themselves to leverage the next wave of technological advances.

Keep data well-governed with centralized rules and processes

Governance is, at its core, the ability for an organization to derive the highest level of trust from its data. By creating standardized rules for collection, management, discoverability, and access, data becomes an asset that drives business value without compromising on requisite security and privacy rules and regulations.

Organizations can ensure their data is well-governed by creating unified standards managed through centralized systems. Ideally, these standards should be embedded at the earliest development stage across all data processes, products, and services. When these standards are centrally established at the outset, it creates a level of enforcement and control by design.

It's never too soon to tackle data governance. The goal should be creating mechanisms to organize data from the get-go, such as at the beginning of a cloud migration or when bringing new data into broader enterprise systems. But, the reality is most organizations already have a lot of federated data. In that case, they may need to start by creating an inventory to separate their data into logic buckets based on several attributes including business use or its sensitivity. Inventorying and tagging data is an important step in building a self-service data ecosystem.

Ensure well-governed data runs through unified platforms

A standardized governance structure paves the way for data discoverability and accessibility. The best way to ensure well-governed data is accessible to anyone who needs it across the company is by establishing centralized platforms. Companies can build self-service user experiences for different parts of the business, tailoring each interface to a specific department's data requirements, level of technical expertise, and access parameters. Through centralized platforms, these front-end interfaces would be connected to a broader unified data management framework with built-in governance. This ensures that data remains well-governed yet accessible, regardless of job function.

When teams can quickly access and leverage high-quality data, they can make strategic decisions faster. Employees in diverse departments should not have to search the entire company for the data they need, or wonder if the data is high-quality and trustworthy. When teams have access to the right data, they can feed it into broader company-wide tools, platforms, and applications, such as machine learning and AI platforms, to speed up business processes. 

Cultivate a well-managed data culture

Both business and data teams should ensure that strong data management practices are followed across the organization. Business leaders can instill a culture of reverence for well-managed data, and technical teams can assist with this by ensuring it's easy for data users to keep their data well-governed, understandable, and accessible.

Ultimately, organizations' ability to harness the future of emerging technologies will be table stakes for continuing to deliver better customer experiences and for growing the business. Seizing on that potential won't be possible without high volumes of high-quality data, and it all starts with robust, scalable data management practices.

Learn more about how Capital One can help you leverage more effective data management practices.

This post was created by Capital One with Insider Studios.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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