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Finding the ROI of data governance

One way that buy-side firms can increase the chances of obtaining key buy-in for their data governance initiatives is calculating the return on investment associated with such activities.

The benefits of establishing the proper information policies and procedures are many, and extend not only to a company’s information technology, but also their risk management, regulatory and legal requirements, according to IT Business Edge. While the perks of these frameworks can affect numerous areas of a business, they also require the input of these different departments.

To mount a successful data governance initiative, companies must leverage the efforts of staff working in teams including IT, records and legal, the media outlet reported. In addition, these ventures frequently require executive sponsorship.

Challenges with buy-in
While a wide range of organizations realize that lacking data governance is problematic, many do not have a feasible means of implementing the proper set of policies and procedures, according to the news source.

Companies could face difficulty obtaining buy-in from people at all levels of the business, including board members, operational managers and entry-level staff. Organizations will have a very hard time getting anything accomplished without the approval of senior management, but unless they obtain the buy-in of lower-level individuals, they could encounter stiff resistance.

One thing in particular that could make obtaining buy-in for data governance difficult is that it frequently fails to generate revenue.

Building a strong business case
Amid this situation, data governance champions should develop a strong business case to get the funding they need. In a recent Information Management article, Henry Olson, director of product management for a San Francisco-based software company, noted various techniques companies can use to build a compelling case. He states that when creating metrics, companies should focus on ones that are specific, measurable, relevant, attainable and possible to achieve.

Doing this can be difficult, as some of the greatest risks that come along with lacking proper data governance – including reputational damage and a loss of clients – can be very difficult to quantify. Potential impact on strategic partnerships can also be quite challenging to predict.

Work with what you have
If companies want to develop something compelling they can present to management, one good place to start is focusing on knowledge workers and the time they spend, Olson says. In many organizations, staff fitting this description might spend between 30 and 40 percent of their day doing research. By making these individuals more aware of where information is and how to access it, companies can reduce costs.

Data governance initiatives designed to bolster the accuracy of data – as well as eliminate redundant information – could potentially serve as the basis for a compelling business case because of the projected cost reduction.

Individuals looking to champion these policies and procedures might benefit from exploring how much false or superfluous data their buy-side firm has.

Drawing on business development
Another area data governance champions can review when building a case is business development. Olson notes the expenses associated with direct mail campaigns, emphasizing that reducing the number of undeliverable pieces contribute directly toward lowered costs.

However, there are other areas where it may be far easier to show the value of data governance. For example, if business development staff rely on databases for activities such as lead nurturing, lead generation and sales, they might obtain substantial improvements in efficiency simply by working with information that is more accurate.

Having the right information can not only save sales staff time, but also increase their chances of obtaining the sale.

While data governance champions may have a hard time illustrating the ROI that comes along with establishing the proper framework, they can draw upon a wide range of techniques to illustrate this payoff.

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