Most organizations are massive data factories. The amount of collected information is growing rapidly, with terabytes of data and metadata (data about the data) filling storage disks to capacity. Big data can be an organization’s best asset or its biggest liability.
When data is an asset, it’s easy to find, categorize, and use. It adds value, serving as a business intelligence tool and risk management utility. On the other hand, data that is considered a liability is not easy to uncover, is unwieldy, or holds little value.
If outside requests for data from interested parties like regulators, partners and those on the opposing side of litigation take a long time to fulfill, or if they can’t be fulfilled at all, that creates greater liability. Making data difficult to find lowers the productivity of employees and results in lowered efficiency. If data storage costs and costs associated with people looking for data are rising, that’s another kind of a liability.
A process called “information governance” is key to turning data from a liability into an asset. It enables a cross-departmental approach to increasing the value of information while managing associated risks and costs, and it helps keep, catalogue or delete useless data. Information governance begins at the point of data creation. Although implementation details may vary by company, information governance generally consists of “four pillars”: the implementation of comprehensive data policies, data mapping and connectivity, indexing and categorization, and application of predictive governance processes.