Building a data-driven culture: The importance of data governance

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Does your organisation have a data-driven culture?

A data-driven culture encourages team members to make decisions based on data rather than gut instinct. Building this culture starts with access to accurate and timely data, which in turn starts with good governance.

Research from IT Brief Australia reveals that businesses that have used a mature data strategy for more than a year see annual profit growth of 5%. Despite this, 71% of Australian businesses have not democratised access to centralised analytics tools and support. This gap highlights an opportunity to transform data and decision-making across all organisational levels.

Without strong data governance, data quality, security, and compliance, your team will struggle to make effective data-driven decisions. This blog explores the essential relationship between data governance and building a successful data-driven culture.

Source: IT Brief Australia.

The foundation of a data-driven culture

A data-driven culture encourages people at all levels of the organisation to make decisions anchored in data rather than intuition or experience alone. The benefits of a data-driven culture include improved decision-making, operational efficiency, and a stronger competitive edge. However, achieving this requires more than just collecting and analysing data. It necessitates a shift in how the organisation manages, accesses and uses data. This is where data governance comes in.

Core principles of data governance

Data governance encompasses the policies, standards, and practices that ensure data quality, security, and compliance. However, the Data Governance in Australia report found that 58% of the CEOs and C-suite executives surveyed said their boards did not understand their organisation’s data governance strategies. This gap in understanding highlights the importance of establishing and communicating a robust data governance framework.

Data governance involves a set of core principles:

  • Data quality: Ensure that people use accurate, complete, and reliable data.
  • Data security: Protect data from unauthorised access and breaches.
  • Compliance: Adhere to legal and regulatory requirements regarding data use and protection.

The components of data governance support a data-driven culture. High-quality data ensures that people and teams make decisions based on accurate information. Data security and compliance ensure that sensitive data is only available to authorised people within the organisation.

Preparing data for decision-making

Poor data quality causes incorrect conclusions, misguided strategies, and wasted resources. Common challenges include inconsistent data formats, duplicate records, and missing information. Addressing these issues requires a proactive approach, including:

  • Regular audits: Conduct regular data audits to identify and rectify quality issues.
  • Data cleaning: Implement processes for ongoing data cleaning and validation.
  • Standardisation: Standardise data across the organisation to maintain consistency.

If you use AI, it’s important to note that AI algorithms are only as good as the data used to train them. Practices to enhance data quality support the effective use of AI and analytics, which supports a data-driven culture.

Building a data governance framework

Your data governance framework will include several key steps:

  • Define policies and standards: Establish clear policies and standards for data management, including quality, security, and compliance.
  • Assign responsibilities: Designate roles and responsibilities for data governance, ensuring accountability at all levels of the organisation.
  • Implement procedures: Develop procedures for data collection, storage, access, and usage that align with the defined policies and standards.
  • Use technology: Leverage technology solutions, such as data management platforms and security tools, to support data governance efforts.
  • Continuous improvement: Review and update the data governance framework to address new challenges and opportunities.

Empowering employees with data

A data-driven culture thrives when people feel empowered to use data. As such, teams will require training on any data governance practices they must comply with and how to use data. For instance:

  • Basic data literacy: Train employees on basic data literacy to ensure they can effectively use data.
  • Role-specific training: Providing specialised training tailored to different organisational roles, ensuring each employee knows how to handle data appropriately.
  • Just-in-time training: Implementing training programs that provide relevant knowledge when needed.

Empowering employees through education and training fosters a culture of continuous learning and improvement. When people become well-versed in using data, they are more likely to leverage it when making decisions.

Conclusion

Building a data-driven culture is essential for businesses to achieve their strategic goals and a competitive advantage. However, this culture may struggle to thrive without data governance. By ensuring data quality, security, and compliance, organisations can build a solid foundation for decision-making. The leadership team should champion these practices and empower teams through education and training.

Build the foundation of a data-driven culture with MakeSense

MakeSense can help your organisation build the foundation needed for a data-driven culture. Our automation, deep learning, and data engineering specialists deliver AI and Data solutions for strategic decision-making. 

Harness world-class technology and partnerships to guide your company’s future. From initial discovery to full implementation, we are with you every step of the way. Visit our AI and Data Services page to learn more about how we can support and drive your success.

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