Matt Wagnon, Senior Director of Product Strategy at BackOffice, shared his thoughts on data governance and digital transformation – and the link between the two – during his presentation to Argyle's CIO membership at the 2018 Chief Information Officer Leadership Forum in New York on June 19. In his presentation, "How Data Governance Enables Digital Transformation," Wagnon offered tips to help business professionals simultaneously promote data governance and digital transformation within their respective companies.
Business professionals often face a difficult task: finding the right balance between implementing data governance measures and using digital technologies to transform the way they collect and analyze a broad array of data. Fortunately, businesses that understand the value of data may be better equipped than others to effectively manage critical information and use it to transform their day-to-day operations.
Create a Uniform Approach
Ultimately, data is exceedingly valuable because it enables business professionals to analyze consumers' expectations, review the competitive landscape across an industry and obtain myriad relevant business insights. Yet data has different meanings to different business professionals. But if a business offers a consistent definition of data across all departments, it could streamline its data management approach.
A consistent data management approach may lead business professionals to rethink how they share information with one another, too. In fact, with data governance policies and protocols in place, business professionals will know exactly what it takes to comply with the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other data security mandates. Then, business professionals can securely share data with their colleagues and superiors without putting this information in danger.
Furthermore, businesses must consider how they can optimize the value of data. If companies integrate advanced data collection and analysis tools into their everyday operations, they can simplify data management. Perhaps most important, these businesses can ensure that their data is treated the same way at all times and empower workers to get the most out of the information at their disposal.
"Not all of us treat our data in the same manner," Wagnon pointed out. "Some of us gain more business value based on the actions we take on data."
Break Down the Barriers
Businesses must explore ways to eliminate silos between IT and other departments as well. If companies foster collaboration and communication among multiple departments, these businesses could avoid costly, time-intensive data breaches. Plus, these businesses can ensure that all employees know how to manage data and maximize its value. "The gap between IT and business has never been closer," Wagnon noted. "IT is a key capability of your business."
A company-wide approach must be used to deploy an effective data governance strategy. If employees in all business departments work together, they can help a company avoid data security issues and use this information to drive meaningful business improvements. Businesses that devote time and resources to secure their data should have no trouble complying with future data security laws.
"The government cannot stop making regulations about data," Wagnon stated. "Your approach to GDPR needs to be something that can be used not only as a business concept but also for business you conduct in countries outside of Europe."
Focus on the Customer
For today's companies, customers must remain at the center of their data governance and digital transformation efforts. Creating ecosystems that enable customers to quickly and effortlessly connect with a company ensures a business can collect customer data. In addition, businesses can use this information to learn about a target audience and find ways to provide customers with the right products, services and support.
"We're creating our ecosystems … and we're creating our own decisions and picking products to integrate with our ecosystems," Wagnon said. "The shift of the marketplace is now more customer-centric than vendor-centric."
Lastly, companies must prioritize the user experience. Customer data is readily available to businesses, and companies that can monitor and evaluate this information can gain unprecedented customer insights. With these insights in hand, business professionals can bolster the user experience, as well as gain a competitive advantage over a company's rivals.
"If you're not focused on the customer and the user experience, then you're not going to have a competitive advantage in the marketplace," Wagnon noted.