Don't Blame Your Data

Don't Blame Your Data

So, you don’t trust your data. Well, you need to do something about it. You need to create a culture for having trusted data and have effective data governance in place. Don’t blame your data. This blog post will cover reasons for bad data, how you can improve your data and the benefits of data governance.StockSnap_MLZIHL9GLY_blamedata_BP

Data problems can affect nearly every part of your institution. Often data is fragmented, duplicated, incomplete, outdated – you name it! You may have data silos or poorly integrated data systems, or an overwhelming overload of data that is not organized or understood. Even when data quality is good, documentation is often lacking. Data consumers and analysts have different understandings of where data exists and what it means in context.

Problems like these can leave decision-makers operating in the dark. Strategic efforts, including those related to recruitment and retention, budgeting and institutional effectiveness, are hindered when data is not trusted and understood. Planning, compliance and risk management is more difficult when access to trusted, complete data is not possible.

Again, don’t blame your data. Do something about it. It is our belief that reporting and bad data are not a technology problem. We feel that data and reporting problems are caused by:

  • failure to communicate
  • inability to collaborate
  • insufficient documentation
  • lack of data governance strategy

All can be improved with improving data governance protocols, increasing data stewardship and instituting internal controls.

To have trusted data you must manage data across its entire life cycle. A comprehensive data governance solution to do this includes:

  • creating the capabilities to improve data quality
  • storing and making accessible the metadata (data about data) to ensure consistent definitions and usage
  • assisting data stewardship for ongoing oversight and enforcement of standards and procedures
  • developing retention and security protocols to support accessible and secure data
  • building a knowledge base that supports the compilation, usage and analysis of business data

Data governance has many benefits and is different for all institutions. Remember to start with why you are taking the time for data governance.

Here is a short list of data governance benefits:

  1. Improves data quality
  2. Establishes a single version of the truth across the enterprise
  3. Make data more accessible and make data more secure
  4. Reduces information costs and improves productivity for consumers of institutional data
  5. Allows for faster turn around in information delivery and faster report generation
  6. Improves decision-making by providing data that is reliable, accessible and consistent
  7. Facilitates cooperation and collaboration across organizational boundaries
  8. Improves regulatory compliance and internal controls as well as limiting risk exposure
  9. Establishes a strong data foundation layer on which to leverage additional capabilities

It is people that can make the data better and more usable. It is probably not a technology or a data problem. Bad data is usually a people problem. By working together, people can improve the data so that it is trusted and used for day to day functions and to improve the institution.

IData has a solution, the Data Cookbook, that can aid the institution in its data governance. IData also has experts that can assist with data governance, reporting, integration and other technology services on an as needed basis. Feel free to contact us and let us know how we can assist.

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(image credit StockSnap_MLZIHL9GLY_blamedata_BP #1016)

Jim Walery
About the Author

Jim Walery is a marketing professional who has been providing marketing services to technology companies for over 20 years and specifically those in higher education since 2010. Jim assists in getting the word out about the community via a variety of channels. Jim is knowledgeable in social media, blogging, collateral creation and website content. He is Inbound Marketing certified by HubSpot. Jim holds a B.A. from University of California, Irvine and a M.A. from Webster University. Jim can be reached at jwalery[at]

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