Data governance, or DG, is a fairly new concept in the business world that has taken shape and evolved since the turn of the 21st century. The term may have different definitions depending on whom you ask and what their school of thought is. In general, the discipline involves many aspects of enterprise master data management, policies regarding that data, processes for maintaining the quality of the data, techniques for reducing the associated risks and systems for managing the related business structures. For many businesses in the technology age, data is the most valuable resource, and managing it also presents the most risks and challenges. This new concept centers on the policies and procedures that provide the most positive use and control of data, and the specialists who are in charge of handling that data and all the responsibilities therein.

With the right master data management solutions, it’s possible to reduce an organization’s risks while improving their bottom line, even when you factor in the investment of hiring a consultant or consulting firm. A data governance consulting service can help you and your business figure out the best processes to manage and protect your precious data at all levels of your enterprise, so your teams can work more productively without concerns over security risks or lost revenue. Enforcing a formal set of policies and procedures for governing data should also ensure that individuals and teams are held accountable when they are responsible for data that is low in quality or that has been compromised in any way. Ultimately, the goal of any data governance consulting service should be to change the way the company thinks about and handles their data so everyone in the organization can make better use of it.

The idea of setting up an entirely new set of policies regarding your enterprise master data management plan may sound mind-boggling, but there are several popular and practical ways to decrease your organization’s risk and improve your bottom line that you can start enacting now. Here are five that every business in the information age should consider:

1. Consolidate Enterprise Content – If your business can reduce the amount of content you’re managing, you can cut costs and reduce the risks associated with uncontrolled content.

2. Assess Your Application Needs – Your enterprise may have several IT applications that are doing the same or similar things, which all boils down to a big waste of money and resources. If you can reduce the number of redundant applications being used by your organization, you can reduce the software and human resources required to manage all your IT applications, which will ultimately improve your bottom line.

3. Update Information Technologies – If your organization is still using outdated technology, it’s time to update for the sake of protecting your data and your bottom line. The specialists who understand these older technologies are aging and may not always be around to manage your IT systems. Plus, as technological tools age, they require more and more repairs and run more risks of failure.

4. Streamline Your Operations – Business process engineering is one of the most effective master data management solutions you can enact for your company. If you can streamline your operations, you can become more flexible to the needs of the market, more consistent in your processes and more cost-effective overall.

5. Get in the Cloud – Moving to a cloud-based software and storage solution isn’t just a whimsical idea that you should be toying with for someday in the future. It is a real way to move capital expenditures to your operating budget, cut costs and reduce infrastructure failure risks even as you store more and more data in the coming years.

Enforcing a new data governance plan doesn’t have to happen all at once, and it certainly shouldn’t happen overnight. It can be implemented over time, step by step, like a slow evolution throughout your enterprise. Eventually, DG can change the way your business thinks and acts in regards to information technologies. Every member of the team can benefit from increased revenues and reduced risks, so there’s no time like the present to get started with these five important improvements.

Does your organization practice any of the popular and practical data governance practices listed above?

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