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Data Discovery, Governance, and the Value of Collaboration

This post is guest authored by Peter Krensky, Research Analyst, Analytics & Business Intelligence at Aberdeen Group.

IT bureaucracy may be a necessary evil, but enlightened organizations can work to lessen its degree of maleficence. In the context of data discovery, the goals of users and IT can sometimes appear at odds. IT must ensure that enterprise data is accurate, complete, and secure. Users want to quickly and freely explore data and engage comprehensive datasets to achieve new levels of insight. Aberdeen’s research validates the general consensus that data creation and storage requirements are growing at exponential rates with no signs of decelerating. Users see this flood of data as an exciting new resource to be mined for competitive advantage. As such, they quickly become frustrated when their access to new data sources is unnecessarily restricted or hampered. However, as data volumes grow, so too does the burden placed on IT – both in terms of required manpower and the costs of storing, managing, and protecting data. IT must strike a balance between maintaining high standards while satisfying the clamoring masses of users.

From the 2014 Business Analytics survey respondent pool, Aberdeen isolated organizations that have both data discovery tools and established governance policies. Additionally, these organizations demonstrated a collaborative relationship between users and IT (by earning a “collaborator” rating from the Analytical Mind Map).

So what are the tangible benefits of this collaborative data governance? While respecting the realities of large-scale IT, how can we measure the difference when users are able to explore data and uncover new insights? Aberdeen observed markedly superior performance by organizations with collaborative data governance in several key measures of successful data discovery (Figure 1). Organizations with collaborative data governance were able to obtain pertinent information within the decision window 75% of the time (Aberdeen defines the decision window as the period of time when information is valuable for a choice at hand). Data governance establishes clear channels for users leveraging data discovery tools to find critical information on a deadline. Users that do not regularly collaborate with IT are forced to cut through layers of red tape and arrive at data too late. 

Figure 1: Superior Data Discovery

Delivering pertinent information on time sustains a happier user base. Users collaborating with IT around data governance are 83% more likely to be satisfied with the speed and timeliness of information delivery. When IT truly understands users’ data needs and has governance policies in place, users are able to quickly find information without digging through multiple systems or double checking that data is updated. Every data-driven task, from customer prospecting to budgeting, benefits from faster information delivery.

Collaborators are also 59% more likely to have users that are satisfied with their access to the data needed to support decisions. Open lines of communication help users better understand the reasons behind data access controls, such as security concerns or regulatory requirements. When users performing data discovery hit a brick wall, they can quickly be told they lack the proper authorization. These users will take their exploration in a new direction instead of becoming frustrated and dissatisfied with their lack of access.

Collaborative data governance allows both users and IT to perform their analytical duties to the fullest. Users get the flexible, self-driven data discovery capabilities that enable them to efficiently find and analyze relevant information. IT is able to support users while keeping data secure, accurate, and updated. Organizations looking to improve data discovery and IT bureaucracy should make collaborative processes and culture a priority. 

Learn more about governed data discovery by reading, Wise Analytic's Understanding The Role of Data Governance to Support A Self-Service Environment whitepaper.

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