Data Governance: The Answer to Delivering Trusted Data?

There seems to be a lack of confidence in data today. This is mainly because people do not trust the integrity of the information that they receive from organisations and what organisations do with their personal and sensitive data gathered. This trust gap is not only present in the consumer and organisation relationship but also for organisations internally with their own data on hand.
According to Gartner, by 2022, the majority of individuals living in developed economies will consume more distorted information than reliable information. Also, a survey by Talend revealed that only 29% of data specialists in Asia Pacific are fully confident in their ability to deliver trusted data.
Data Storage Asean spoke to Stu Garrow, Senior Vice President of Sales and General Manager Asia Pacific at Talend to find out more about this issue. We asked Stu about the importance of data and analytics for both organisations and consumers, especially in the Asia Pacific region today.

Stu Garrow, Senior Vice President of Sales and General Manager Asia Pacific at Talend
Stu explained that the digital leaders in a data-driven economy are using data from end-to-end to drive competitive advantage. Internally, digital leaders need to quickly deliver accurate and complete data to the appropriate people. Delivering data to these internal stakeholders in a format that is understandable and verifiable empowers companies to make great business decisions. He added that analytics platforms are crucial to enabling business users to have consumable, self-service data. In other words, Stu explained that users could trust the data when it is linked via a data catalogue to all the original source locations.
“Externally, digital leaders need to achieve great customer outcomes, which also requires accurate, complete data to be delivered quickly. Incomplete data will negatively impact customer experience and force consumers to move on quickly.”
Data delivery speeds may have been most important to organisations, but today’s digital leaders have moved beyond simple data speeds to focusing on the factors that allow the data to have a greater impact on customer outcomes, which are accuracy and completeness. For organisations to accomplish this, Stu said it is pivotal for them to have an effective data management programme in place. 
Ensuring data is not misused
But with data scandals surrounding data protection in the recent years becoming a concern – leading to a significant loss of trust among consumers – organisations are now coming up with more policies on how their data is kept, used, secure and disposed of.
Stu explained that enterprises can be proactive in securing customer data by implementing effective data governance policies. Enterprises need a well-crafted data governance strategy that ensures roles related to data are clearly defined and compliant with relevant government and industry standards. Examples are the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the U.S. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), and the Singapore Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (PDPA). This builds a framework for ensuring data accuracy, completeness and consistency.
“Once the data governance processes are in place, a suite of apps to integrate the data value chain, such as our Data Fabric solution, can then be used to automate governance processes. So, data is delivered to the appropriate people, without impacting how fast the organisation operates.”
The basic principle of regulations like GDPR is that the consumer owns their data. As consumers become more aware of and educated about how their data can be used, more of them will want the opportunity to choose how it is used. Personal data can help organisations deliver exceptional customer experiences. However, in the wrong hands, Stu said it becomes a powerful tool to manipulate consumer behaviour. 
“The rising instances of data breaches underscore the need for companies to be vigilant in protecting the safety of data and proactive in governing how critical information is handled. Companies that can be transparent with consumers about how their personal data is used, stored and managed will have more success in winning their trust.”
Managing your data to build trust
According to Stu, for an organisation to trust in its data, it must be accurate and complete upon delivery. He said as companies use more applications (including SaaS solutions) from an increasing number of sources, it becomes more difficult to have a single, complete view of the data – a critical aspect of making business decisions. 
“Regulations and governance processes often create roadblocks for internal users attempting to access data, which can impact the data’s timeliness and relevance to business leaders who rely on it to make decisions.”
He further explained that the kinds and sources of data are numerous, and the amount organisations are collecting will only continue to grow. Its quality will have different impacts on the business based on what it’s used for and why.
“That is why businesses need to set unique expectations that are agreed upon across the organisation and are based on what users hope to get out of the data. It will be imperative to confirm that the quality of this information meets the same standards. Without trust in the data, business functions are unable to make business decisions with confidence. Decisions based on flawed data can also have a detrimental impact on the business.”
A data governance strategy can also help organisations to establish codes of conduct and best practices in data management, making certain that the concerns and needs beyond traditional data and technology areas — including areas such as legal, security, and compliance — are addressed consistently. This goes a long way in reinforcing the quality and security of data with customers and internal stakeholders.
For business users, Stu said the cost of bad data quality could be counted in lost opportunities, bad decisions, and the time it takes to hunt down, cleanse, and correct errors. Collaborative data management and the tools to correct errors at the point of origin are clear ways to ensure data quality for everyone who needs it.
“The cost of doing nothing grows over time; the longer bad data sits in the system. Poor data quality can be mitigated much more easily if caught at its point of origin. When this information is properly used to better understand the market and target audience, an organisation will be more successful.”
As Stu puts it, a data governance strategy will also ensure that data is trusted, well-documented, simple to access across the organisation, and kept secure, compliant, and confidential.

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