Data is essential to business monitoring, in particular measuring the success of certain processes, campaigns and activities. The data businesses use and how they use it, greatly affects their success, as many view it as a critical driver of success. As technology is continuously advancing, modern businesses must now work with complex data flows, increased volumes of information, possible resource issues and many sources of data. Due to these many factors, Data Governance has become a pillar of best-practice data management within businesses.
Many businesses may ask themselves, ‘what is data governance?’ or ‘how do you enact it?’
What is Data Governance?
Data Governance is a data management concept that involves a variety of pillars to assist businesses in their data management processes. These pillars are:
- Data Integrity
- Data Security
Many view data governance as ‘data management’ or ‘data security’, although both of these are related to data governance, they do not fully encapsulate data governance and its scope. Data governance generally covers the entire lifecycle of your business’ data. This may also include a combination of strategies, processes and technologies. Office 365 is generally the most convenient data governance solution for many businesses, as the majority of businesses are already utilising Office 365.
Office 365 & Data Governance
Do all of your employees have access to data when needed?
This can be difficult to manage, however, allowing authorised team members to access the data they require to do their job with ease can help your business increase productivity and collaboration. This also encourages your team members to ensure data is organised and up to date at all times.
Two Office 365 tools that can assist in data availability are:
1.SharePoint: Not only does SharePoint allow you to store all data in one source, but it also allows you to organise data and set permissions of access, monitor users and set up collaboration networks. SharePoint truly is a modern collaboration and communication tool. Its innovative features can handle complex workflows, and most importantly, SharePoint allows users to access data from anywhere on any device.
2.OneDrive: Many users view OneDrive as an individual storage solution, however it has powerful collaboration capabilities. As many employees store their data in OneDrive business can gather unique analytics from this program.
Although availability is the first step in data governance, businesses must ensure that it is also usable.
Data usability is generally categorised into 5 segments:
Accuracy: For data to be truly usable, it should be accurate. Incomplete data and errors can reduce the effectiveness of data.
Connectivity: Data must be able to flow between sources. If two sources do not connect, usability will be affected between sources.
Standardisation: All data should be stored in a standardised format.
Metadata: Metadata assists your business in giving data not only structure but also purpose.
Population: If your business has appropriate accuracy, connectivity, standardisation and metadata, your business can still have data which is unusable if it cannot populate. Your business must ensure that data populates when it is required.
There are many Microsoft Office 365 tools that can assist your business with data usability, such as:
PowerBI: Visual data is possibly one of the most effective ways of sharing data and concepts with team members. PowerBI transforms data (both in clour and on-premises data) into visual data that can communicate concepts and findings throughout your business. This can be an invaluable asset to businesses of all sizes.
SharePoint: SharePoint offers useful metadata capabilities. It should be noted that SharePoint can be used accross a business to incorporate data governance.
Although usability is essential for data, consistency is also very important. Accuracy in data can greatly affect whether the data is usable or not.
For this to be effective you must ask yourself ‘is everyone working from the same data?’ This is a modern issue that affects every business. Consistency is key to data accuracy and data governance success.
PowerBI is a useful tool in ensuring your data is consistent, it also allows you to identify errors with ease.
Data integrity refers to data’s ability to be accurate and maintained in relation to internal policies throughout the data lifecycle. Generally, data integrity is how well your data is managed (this also involves understanding what data can affect your business) and using this data according to policies and compliance procedures.
Compliance, regulations and policies go hand in hand when discussing data governance and integrity. Policies should be created in order to maintain data compliance and regulations.
The final pillar of data governance is data security. Only authorised personnel should be able to access company data. Many businesses assume data security is the only aspect of data governance, although it is important its other pillars must be adhered to.
Although Microsoft offers powerful protection, there are many tools that Office 365 offers to protect your data. Multi-Factor Authentication is one of Office 365’s most powerful security options.
Multi-Factor Authentication: Multi-Factor Authentication is a secure method of logging in to your accounts. Authentication methods that rely on more than one ‘proof of identity’ are more likely to hinder any attempt at accessing data through illegal methods. An appropriately designed Multi-Factor Authentication process is much more effective in deterring hackers when compared to traditional single factor authentication methods.
Data is a powerful resource for businesses as it allows companies to gain customers, increase revenue and discover business opportunities. Enacting an appropriate data governance system is essential to this success. Office 365 can help your business utilise data to grow and expand. To learn more about Office 365 and how it can benefit your business, contact our team!