“How do you educate your employees and get them to be invested for the long-term? For one, don’t call it data governance. Call it the best way to do business and the best way to protect our information and our customers.—Managing partner, data governance consultancy”
—from “The New Rules of the Road”

Recently, DMA and Winterberry Group released a white paper, “The New Rules of the Road,” which outlined five key actions that are vital to good data governance for marketers.  Over the course of our series on these key actions, we have talked about maintaining an evolving map to better understand our data assets, developing a unified data strategy, building an infrastructure to make it possible to execute that strategy, and considering the needs of all constituent stakeholders.

Today, we’re going to discuss the fifth and final key action that will help make your business more effective at using data: developing a “data culture” grounded in continuous learning and improvement.

Develop a data culture?  What exactly does that mean?

In fact, what the report is talking about is the development of an attitude and series of data practices within a company, which altogether emphasize an institutional mindset built around the power of insight, with the goal of using data to better serve customers in all customer-centered functions across the franchise. 

This final key action involves completely rethinking the way businesses “see” data.  “New Rules” points out that many companies see data usage as a “science,” meant to supplement the “art” of brand management.  The report suggests that it is better to think of the two as complementary, essential pillars that should support a company’s commitment to growth and innovation.

How can this “data culture” be achieved? 

First, all of the four previous key actions should be in place.  A business should have a clear map of its overall path to a goal of better data governance, as well as a data strategy to guide it; the infrastructure of the company should support and encourage the use of data; and the needs of all stakeholders must be considered. 

Then, the report says, a business should encourage its data-using personnel (like members of the committees which companies were advised to make back in step 3) to always be accessing use cases, opening dialogue, challenging and exchanging ideas, and stepping up to senior management to initiate positive organizational change when necessary.  All employees should not only be educated on data use, access, and acceptable activities, but this training should recur from year to year.

Regular audits should be conducted to confirm compliance with regulations and provide benchmarks against competing organizations.  With all these actions in place, the data-centric “cultures” of these complying organizations might one day become the culture we live in, even outside of business!  A culture of growth, innovation, and respect for information and its power to improve our lives—what could be better?

Thank you for your readership during this series!  You can read more about the “New Rules of the Road” here for a more in-depth picture of the work necessary to develop a cutting-edge data strategy and culture for your business.  We hope to continue serving you with entertaining and informative posts here on the DMA blog!

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