With the rise of Big Data, businesses often have access to more information than they can handle. It is imperative that such large, complex data sets are managed effectively in order to derive the most benefit. Our best practice guide explores the key steps you must take in order to implement a successful enterprise data management initiative in your organisation.
1. Conduct an enterprise data management audit
The first stage of implementing enterprise data management best practices in your business should be to conduct an internal audit of what you are already doing in this area. It may be that you are already doing lots of things right but the chances are that there are also things you are doing wrong – or at least that there are things that could be improved upon.
Conduct a thorough inventory of the data you already have, where it is coming from, how it is being processed, governed and stored. This will help you to gain a more holistic view of your current processes, highlight any areas for improvement and make sure everyone in the business in on the same page when it comes to tackling the enterprise data management challenges ahead.
2. Set up clear and measurable objectives
Once you have conducted a thorough audit of your current operations, it should be much easier to formulate a strategic plan for how to improve things.
Which areas should you tackle first? Are there any quick wins? What timescales should you work towards? And what budget do you have?
You should set clear and measurable objectives for enterprise data management and have a clear definition of what ‘success’ entails for each of these goals. This will help everyone in the business understand and track the progress of these goals.
It is also important that you are realistic with your enterprise data management goals – think big, but start small. Even minor incremental improvements to your current processes can go a long way – and tackling challenges in a more manageable way can ensure a much smoother transition.
3. Focus on data quality
Data quality is an important factor in successful enterprise data management, but one that is often neglected or underestimated. Quite simply, the quality of the data you start with lays the foundations for everything that follows – put garbage in, and you will almost certainly get garbage out.
Improving data quality might require a big investment now, but down the line you should see a significant ROI in the form of better, more reliable insights.
4. Identify the data management champions in your business
For successful enterprise data management, it is imperative that business users and IT departments are united.
Business Intelligence and analytics traditionally fell under the realm of IT departments, the only people in the business who had the technical expertise to manipulate data and create reports. But all that has changed, business users now have a much greater influence on data strategies.
To have a robust enterprise data management strategy, it must be clear who is responsible for what. You must identify the data ‘champions’ in your business, leveraging the skills of both IT and business.
5. Implement a stringent data governance process
As part of these responsibilities, you need to ensure there is a stringent data governance process in place in your organisation. To maintain the quality and consistency of your enterprise data management operations, this process must be carefully monitored.
Doubt over conflicting data sources must be removed, allowing you to achieve a single version of the truth. There must be strict standards in place to ensure the integrity of data, and there needs to be accountability within the business in terms of who is responsible for the accuracy of certain data sets.
6. Gain executive support
Like many business projects, it is difficult to achieve any real success with enterprise data management without executive support for the initiative. If there isn’t already executive support for the project then it is crucial that this is built up before making any significant changes to the way things are run.
Executives will need to see a clear business case to justify investment in enterprise data management. You therefore need to formulate a comprehensive list of the benefits you hope to see, and how you will track them against the business goals you set out earlier on.
7. Pick the right enterprise data management technologies
Enterprise data management isn’t just about getting the right people; it’s also about getting the right technology.
Build a team tasked with finding the right tools and technologies for your requirements and give them the executive support needed to drive the project forward.
Choosing the right tools for can make or break your enterprise data management initiative. However, the hard work does not stop once these technologies are implemented. Processes need to be put in place around these tools to promote usage – and more importantly, correct usage – throughout the business.
8. Educate employees about enterprise data management
Having a strong enterprise data management initiative in place is great, and there is bound to be an initial flurry of excitement around the project. However, the real benefit of enterprise data management comes in its ability to transform your operations in the long run.
In order to maintain support for this initiative, and ensure continued commitment to these principles, it is important that you educate employees about the benefits. It needs to be clear not only how things should be done, but also why they are being done in the first place.
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