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Why it is essential to build an effective data governance framework

Why it is essential to build an effective data governance framework
Ramaswamy Venkatachalam

Data has lately become the lifeline of any corporate enterprise and government organizations. The emergence of social media has amplified the growth of data. From an organization standpoint, social media data points help generate customer feedback, which in turn helps organizations to create new business opportunities, enhance customer experience and stay ahead in the competition. Beyond customers, social media data points help in behavioural pattern study and in the orchestration of data elements for any fraud investigation.

Regulators have come up with a policy on data localization and its importance from our country’s perspective.  But, if we take a broader perspective, the industry at large is yet to grasp the importance of data localization and data itself. Data and its growing importance alongwith associated laws for data protection need to be seep into last mile users across the board, giving more thrust on rural users. Every single employee in an organization must be aware of the importance of data and the dangers of  the misuse of data. 

The usage of data in an effective manner can bring value to businesses and associated internal processes. Today technology is leading to disruptions across industries without exception. These technology changes are compelling organizations to change the way they do business and in turn creating opportunities to look at data points being created as a result of the introduction of new technology solutions in the ecosystem. This essentially pushes regulators to take a relook at data frameworks and data collection mechanisms. This is leading to the amendment of regulatory policies and guidelines across the board. Therefore, user communities within the organization, their business associates and their customers must be aware of these policy changes.

Enterprise, therefore, irrespective of sector must define data frameworks and data ownership within each line of business. Importantly, each line of business should take ownership of data and data protection. Hence, at each organization level there must be a data policy and framework to ensure that business data, customer data, operational data and systems data is well defined and the ownership of each of these data elements are covered within the overall data policy framework. Beyond the line of business), the policy must cover data ownership at macro and micro levels. 

Data governance is important to keep a razor-sharp focus on business and customer experience.  On a different note, the increasing influence of social media on end-customers across industries must be looked into utmost care to ensure that there is no opportunity left open for a negative impact on customer sentiments, which care directly impact overall business. Hence, organizations should set up focused teams to monitor and analyze the data being generated at each business segment along with the respective operational process. 

For today’s businesses, data is the fuel.  Both internal and external data must be used to derive new business models for any organization.  The predictability and profitability of businesses can be easily determined within a few weeks after the roll-out of any new products and services.

Hence, data governance and well-defined data frameworks are important and inevitable for success and customer engagement. 

Coming back to the importance of data localization, every country must have a well-defined policy framework to govern and protect the data of their country. The data of every citizen is spread across the ecosystem. For example, a person opening bank account can lead to loads of data generation, starting from data related to personal identifiable information to his financial information and behavior information related to the engagement with the bank. These different types of data can be used by different sets of units within the organization or outside, such as regulators and credit rating agencies. Each unit will read the data differently according to their final objective.

Ramaswamy Venkatachalam is managing director, banking and payments, FIS. The views expressed in this column are his own.

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