Data Governance 101: How It Can Make or Break Your Data Analysis

Data - it remains the king of marketing buzzwords. We can’t talk about it enough, and it is often as scarce as it is endless. That’s because if you aren’t collecting the right information at the right times in the right places, you’d be better off having never collected it at all. But data is vital to making informed business decisions. So how do you keep from getting constantly bombarded with numbers and instead reveal the key insights that are relevant to your business?

Answer: Data Governance


Data Governance is the process of setting up standardized definitions and protocols for how team members across your organization interact with your company’s data. When used effectively, it will provide the tools your analysts need to create the critical insights today’s marketing demands. Insisting on creating definitions, governing access and gaining control over the metrics that inform your business is imperative to making solid, data influenced, decisions.

Establishing Key Performance Indicators


The first step to effective Data Governance is to walk through the process of establishing the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are most relevant to your business objectives. All too often, these will go into a report and live there until the next person feels the report needs to be “revamped.” The core of your business doesn’t change every time a report needs a new look and feel. Take the small, but valuable, step of documenting the KPIs for the objectives that are relevant to you with a specific focus on the following:

  • How the metrics inform your decisions to accomplish business objectives
  • The technical definitions for each of these metrics
  • The methods used to collect data


This process should be applied to every channel of data available. This will allow for a consistent message and allow you to paint a complete picture when it comes to cross channel reporting. Additionally, this allows you to steer away from the panic that can be induced by an obscure negative number and refocus back on your ultimate goals.

Safeguarding Your Information


Now that you have taken back control of your data and how it informs your business, the next step is to safe guard that information in the face of an ever-changing landscape. In my experience working with enterprise-level organizations on their data governance, employee turnover is most responsible for knowledge gaps and lost effectiveness in terms of reporting and analysis. As an Adobe Reports & Analytics specialist (check out one of our best Adobe Analytics tips HERE), I’ve seen too often how employee turnover can negatively impact Segments. Segments are an incredible tool, but with great power comes great responsibility.


For example, you have completed step 1 above and are ready to start building out your Segments. Your best analyst takes care of this and you’re ready to go! That is, until they promptly decide to take a significant amount of time off or leave your company altogether and everything that they created under their username is swiftly deleted. The creation a centralized username that is created for the sole purpose of housing your core metrics and your standardized reporting is imperative. By doing this, you mitigate some of the knowledge loss when a key analyst is unavailable.

The Final Product


As an added bonus, by sharing the segments with your team, it allows them to pull the segments into their analyses without worry of versioning. It also allows them free reign to manipulate the data without fear that one of their actions will affect any core reporting. It’s a win-win allowing the freedom to get creative and ensuring maximum optimization, while also safeguarding principles. So, while the world continues to chant, “Data, Data, Data!”, I will be up here on my soapbox chanting, “Governance, Governance, Governance!”


What are some of your Data Governance stories? Let us know in the comments below!
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By Laurilee Kroll
About the Author:

Laurilee Kroll is a Consultant at Stratigent.

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