Date Governance and Einstein Analytics
Machine learning. Neural networks. Artificial Intelligence. IBM has Watson, Salesforce has Einstein Analytics. The tech industry is full of exciting and innovative buzz words to describe the way we leverage information to improve businesses processes and increase profits. Do I have your attention? Sorry to disappoint. This post isn’t about any of these things.
I want to talk about the foundation of these technologies; data governance. One of the most important building blocks of any business is the data on which it stands. A system of data governance can help make sure that when it comes to gaining useful and meaningful insights, your data is available, usable, accurate, and secure.
It all starts with the framework. Your business probably employs data governance techniques and doesn’t even know it. When your accounting information is siloed from the sales team, that’s one aspect of it. Granular access to necessary information actually helps in two ways. It increases security and it helps cut out the fluff so teams can make quick insights based off of data they actually need. Categorizing your data is, in my opinion, the first and most important step to achieving a successful framework.
Once you have categorized your data, you can nominate data stewards to help maintain the cleanliness and accuracy of the data for their respective departments. Regular audits help make sure that everyone is doing their part, but instilling the idea that data is an important asset into the company culture can help drive adoption amongst employees to make sure they understand how the business is leveraging the information they’re creating and inputting.
All of the recommendations above are easy when you’re just starting out and coming up with the ways you will collect and maintain your data. When you already have years of data, fragmented in different data warehouses, exclusively in Excel on that one executive’s hard drive, and partially loaded into a CRM solution such as Salesforce, you just need to buckle down and clean it up. A common saying in the industry is “Garbage in, garbage out.” Data profiling tools can help. They will look for anomalies and violations within the company. While it can’t identify inaccurate data, it can help you know where to start looking.
Once you’ve implemented a system of data governance and cleaned up your data, the real fun begins. AI-powered software like Einstein Analytics can help turn your data into real, useful information that powers your business and propels your profits toward the cloud. Unfortunately, a suit is only as good as the fabric from which it’s cut. If you need help cleaning and organizing your Salesforce organization, let me know. As a business analyst and data management professional, I live to find ways to improve the way you manage and utilize the most important asset of your business—data.