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Data has become the most strategic raw material for all organizations.

And as organizations become more data-driven, data governance becomes even more important. A number of factors come together to make that so. The rising volume of data from an increasing number of sources leads to data inconsistencies. There is an ever-growing need to create a common understanding of data across the organization to ensure consistency and alignment. Navigating the complex compliance and regulatory landscape also demands that organizations must have a stronger handle on data and what it represents.

All this combines to create the need for a common business language when it comes to data.

Imagine if a financial institution has poor and inconsistent management of customer data. How will they leverage customer analytics to identify cross-selling opportunities? Will they be able to monitor the customer journey correctly and ably interact with the customer at the right touchpoints? Will it ever be possible for the organization to deliver elevated customer experiences? Clearly, they will fall short in all these critical areas without robust policies to manage that data.

This is where data governance comes into play. Data governance will help the organization identify the issues at work, define the standards of data needed, and implement the changes in the business needed to ensure those standards are met.

The truth about data governance

But we have often seen many confuse data governance with data collection or data warehousing. Before we dive into what data governance is, let’s understand what it is not:

  • Data governance is not master data management
  • Data governance is not data cleansing or data extraction
  • Data governance is not data warehousing or database design
  • Data governance is not database management and administration

If not this, then what is data governance?

The Data Governance Institute defines data governance as “a system of decision rights and accountabilities for information-related processes, executed according to agreed-upon models which describe who can take what actions with what information, and when, under what circumstances, using what methods.”

Simply speaking, data governance gives us an accountability framework to define the behavior for creation, valuation, storage, roles, metrics, standards, use, archival, and deletion of data and information. Within this, it includes the process, roles, and metrics that ensure the effective use of data and information for organizations to reach their goals.

Why data governance matters to Product Content?

Did you know that given today’s digital age, product content is the most important influencer of purchasing decisions? Would you buy a product from a salesperson if he was unable to provide the most relevant, correct, and latest product specifications? Information builds trust and in a world where interactions are becoming increasingly digital, your product content becomes your online salesperson. Incomplete product information will not only cost you customers who could be visiting your site, but you could also be losing customers who do land there. Research shows that 87% of buyers rate product content as an important influencer of their buying decisions.

However, we must also address the growing complexity of product data, especially in the B2B space. B2B products are increasing in their complexity. The supplier network is growing. Product portfolios are expanding. And customer expectations are also rising.

New product introduction is becoming critical for success in the face of these challenges. Enriched product data is enabling elevated digital experiences. Given that, the sheer volume of data, its growing complexity and its direct relationship with driving business and profitability make an obvious case for data governance in relation to product content.

As mentioned, data governance must be applied to product content to decide how the data should be acquired, secured, and managed across the enterprise to ensure timely and accurate information availability for customers, internal digital channels, and distributor partners.

By employing strong data governance practices organizations can benefit in the following ways:

  • Create a centralized version of the truth for product data and content
  • Identify the key sources of truth and ensure that only those sources are used
  • Improve data quality across these sources
  • Develop standards and policies for data access
  • Gain the capability to share the product data in real-time and confidently throughout the value chain
  • Maintain compliance and integrity to drive operational efficiency
  • Improve cross-sell and upsell opportunities
  • Ensure continuous management of product data to improve findability
  • Capably transfer complex catalog information to partners to align with style guides without compromising technical specifications
  • Eliminate product data onboarding challenges for new channel partners and for new product variants
  • Ensure data security

We believe that where there is data, there must be governance. The increasing competition and a complex regulatory landscape demand have already made it necessary to employ strong data governance. It’s time to extend that philosophy to product content. This is important not only for data integrity but also to ensure that product content delivers the business value that it is capable of.