How to Define Governance for Your Data Quality Management (Part 2 of 5 Data Quality Survival Tips Series)

February 25, 2016 Adam Gilbert

Have you ever felt like gaps in your analytics reports create a storm of frustration when it comes to your company’s ability to make data-driven decisions with accurate insight?

At the wise age of 15, I volunteered as a youth counselor at a High Adventure Boy Scout Camp that trained younger scouts.

Over the course of a week, the youth counselors taught the younger scouts all the necessary skills to be prepared for anything an outdoor adventure might offer them.

The week culminated in the younger boys camping out overnight without any supervision, using the skills they’d learned.

What the younger kids didn’t know was that they were monitored by their counselors during the night to evaluate how much they had learned in the previous days.

One group, I remember, decided that because the days had been particularly hot, they would only bring their sleeping bags and no additional gear. As night fell, all the scouts were comfortable in their sleeping bags around the fire they had created.

That is when the skies unleashed a furious storm.

Immediately, the fire was extinguished and sleeping bags were drenched—a serious situation in the high Utah altitude where even in the summer the temperatures can plummet quickly leading to hypothermia.

The youth counselors rushed in to help, supplying emergency blankets and guiding the scouts to a large army tent nearby.

In this story, the boys had the knowledge and training to be prepared for anything, yet they were so excited for something new that they threw caution to the wind, and failed to plan completely.

Failure to Govern Your Data

In the online world, I have been surprised how many organizations treat their digital data the same way!

Web analysts work hard to document how and when they implement new technology tags, however, when some shiny new tool is found, a team in the organization often immediately adds it to the site without following their own processes. Ultimately, this wreaks havoc with other parts of the site and often skews the company data.

In the first post of this five-part data quality series, I explained that having a Data Quality Owner is the first step to maturing and maximizing your organization’s digital intelligence.

Companies with a Data Quality Owner who continually works to define and maintain a solid data governance practice excel—according to Forrester Research, data insight-driven firms are 69% more likely to report year-over-year revenue growth of 15% or more.

To survive in your industry and keep your competitive edge, you must promote a Data Quality Owner and give him or her the authority to clearly define data governance for your company, which is survival tip no. 2.

Survival Tip No. 2: Define Your Data Governance

Top performing organizations that use data to achieve a competitive advantage adopt the best data management tools and practices.

By defining what data governance is for your company, how you will approach data governance and how you will use data governance as a tool for agility, you move towards having better data quality management, and become prepared for anything.

Data collection and governance best practices revolve around three key processes:

  1. New Tag Deployments:  Create clear, consistent business processes for adding data collection technologies to your website. Be sure to integrate any new tag deployments with development and content deployment cycles.
  1. Verify Tags:  Confirm variables are populating correctly and that the code functions as expected under all conditions. Ensure data collection is as consistent as possible across browsers, devices, geographies, and does not hinder the user experience.
  1. Conduct Audits:  Instigate a process to confirm that tag deployments are properly maintained over time. Websites have enough moving parts and people touching code that tagging problems can happen frequently and have a large impact on the quality of your data.

Tools to Enhance Your Data Governance

Governing your data means validating the processes of new tag deployment, verifying your tags, and conducting regular audits of your implementations to ensure you are collecting accurate, reliable data.

Tag management systems are also terrific tools for managing tag deployments. However, a TMS does not reduce the need validate the data being collected.

Tag auditing solutions can enhance your data governance strategy as they monitor for accuracy before, during and after deployment, mitigating the challenges associated with tag-sourced data.

Sites with robust traffic benefit most from enterprise-grade data assurance, tag auditing solutions, though some free web tag debuggers work well as companies begin to explore this need.

The Peace of Mind that Comes With Being Prepared

Data governance really isn’t that much different than a camping trip.

You carefully plan and make preparations, but sometimes things you may not have anticipated happen.

Web tags break, new implementations suffer from gaps, during migrations technologies fall off pages, the list goes on and on.

However, by defining your data governance strategy and empowering a talented Data Quality Owner to execute it, you not only are able to survive any data management storms, but can continue to increase your competitive advantage and mature your digital intelligence.

Wondering where to start on your journey to expert data governance? Try a free website audit to see how your website implementations are currently performing.

Check back next week for the next tip on Data Quality Survival.


About the Author

Adam Gilbert

Adam Gilbert has been in Digital Marketing for the past ten years, eight of which he spent at Adobe as a Senior Customer Success Manager working with Fortune 100 companies. He has worked with accounts in all verticals including Hi-Tech, Travel & Leisure, Retail, and Financial Services. Adam now manages the Partner Program at ObservePoint as the Senior Partner Success Manager. Personally, he loves getting out into nature with his family and can regularly be found hiking the many trails in Utah. He uses his passion for the outdoors to run two websites for wilderness survival courses and hiking trails.

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