“One of the big concerns right now is how to use data governance to help us sort through all of our data. We have certain data streams that cannot be mixed, for example, and we need to know what data we have and what we can use on campaigns. —Database consultant, large consumer bank”

— “The New Rules of the Road”

Recently, DMA and Winterberry Group released “The New Rules of the Road,” an innovative whitepaper that outlines five key actions vital to good data governance for marketers.  Today, we’re going to take a look at the first item on that list, using the information from “New Rules” as our guide.

According to the report, the first key action that marketers must take is to maintain an evolving “map” of customer information.

What does that mean?  It means creating a centralized catalogue of customer data resources that is permanent yet continuously evolving — categorized clearly according to industry practices and in a way that allows internal stakeholders to see where this data came from and what it can contribute.

The best way to do this is to reshuffle the ownership and infrastructure surrounding the data.  “The New Rules” advises companies to identify one or more internal process managers and assign them ownership of the data classification and mapping project.  Ideally, these managers would work with a team that can transform data governance more broadly to maximize the data’s contribution to the enterprise.  The report emphasizes the need for a “data discovery” process that focuses on understanding all the information assets across the enterprise that might slip through the cracks otherwise.

This action is key because an organization should be continuously aware of its own assets, for both proactive purposes (optimization of the utility of those assets) and reactive purposes (management of the strongest data infrastructure possible for security and protection).  Despite these good reasons, the report shows that this level of information maintenance is only somewhat common — although most large companies keep good documentation on their customer data, centralized ownership of those records is very rare.  This inhibits marketers’ abilities to get a unified understanding of all of the information assets at their disposal.

Once an organization has such a map at its disposal, it will be free to drive on, secure in the knowledge that it knows where it’s going!

In the next installment, we will be exploring the report’s second key action: the development of a unified data strategy.

Read more about the “New Rules of the Road” here.

Like what you’re seeing and want even more concrete ideas for your business?  Register for our free webinar on the results of the study, presented by Gina Scala, DMA’s VP of Education and Development; and Rich Walker and Jonathan Margulies, Winterberry’s Managing Directors.

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