Data has the potential to transform your business. The key is to focus on data quality and make sure the transformation is positive.
With so much data available and different aspects of that data needed for different reasons – to aid key business decisions, regulatory compliance or simply to record customer details – it is essential that it is handled correctly. Failing to do this can turn the data you hold into a liability with the potential to cost you money and your reputation.
Timely, accurate and complete – data quality matters
Historically, the main features of data quality have been timely, accurate and complete – all of which are referenced in various financial regulations and are still very relevant. However, the main drivers of data quality today are regulation, global reach and trust, and these continue to evolve.
Regulators are placing increased emphasis on data lineage, both in terms of following the data from source to system and once used, the impact it has on calculations and transformations.
The ever-widening global reach is also impacting data quality as different data sets need to be connected to gain a proper insight into the full market picture, and then there’s the issue of trust.
Data needs to be correctly managed to stop formats proliferating and prevent an increase in entropy, which can lead to more operational risk and higher costs.
Data location or source
Another thing to consider is the data location or source. The key is to identify the golden sources and where alternative sources are being used, demise them and migrate consumers to a golden source.
From a systems perspective, depending on the architecture, users can either access data from anywhere via global distributed systems or from local sub-hubs of the main enterprise system. Both options have their pros and cons.
Local systems can be more convenient, decrease the time to production and aid understanding. However, due to the different infrastructure, they can often lead to inconsistencies, data-quality errors, a duplication of effort and a narrowing of the overall picture.
Similarly, while centralised systems can reduce costs, ensure consistent definitions and aggregated metrics, they usually extend the delivery timeline due to the larger scale operation required for enterprise level change.
Improving data management practices
To address these issues and improve data management practices, many firms have appointed a Chief Data Office(r). Once just the domain of large tier one businesses, the pressure to ensure the quality of the data means that CDOs are now commonplace across a range of organisations.
Whether an individual or an office (usually comprising product owners and data stewards), the CDO’s job is to take charge, establish polices and governance around data, monitor quality by working alongside business owners and guide the organisation through the change needed to turn their data into an asset.
Turning data into an asset
At Brickendon we are well aware of the challenges organisations face managing their data and ensuring it works for their them. We have worked with a wide range of businesses to help them make the most of their data by implementing policies and practices that add structure and tidy up the landscape, reduce exposure to regulatory risk and insulate the firm from reputational risk due to data failures.
The key is to produce a data governance programme that not only manages the risks associated with regulatory data, but that produces information users need and can trust. After all, as businesses become increasingly dependent on data, so the pressure on the levels of granularity and the scrutiny of the processes behind the data increases. It is easy to get caught up in the detail and lose sight of the overall aim – improving data quality and ensuring what it produced is working in a positive way to improve your business.
Data can be a great asset. Let’s make sure it is one for you.
For more information on how Brickendon can help you improve the quality of your data, contact us via email at [email protected] or on 0203 693 2605.