Enterprise Data Management: What You Need to Know

The increased pressure to implement enterprise data management is not the result of a fad or herd mentality. There are real operational needs driving this movement. Chief among these is the urgent demand to make data accessible and useful. Businesses need to be able to put their data to work fueling decisions, empowering efficiencies, and shaping company direction. That means data must be standardized, converted to useful forms, and stored where it is secure but still accessible to users.

If you are lucky, your company was able to get a jump on its data management, implementing proactive measures over the last few years to handle the swelling data tide. Unfortunately many enterprises didn't have the same foresight and now find themselves scrambling to get a handle on their data, which is growing and changing by the day.

Whether you're just getting started or honing your strategy, here's what you need to know about enterprise data management.

The Many Sides of Enterprise Data

According to premier market intelligence firm IDC, businesses are managing a volume of data that is growing at an average of 40% a year.

Not only are companies handling more data, but the types and formats of data are expanding as well. Data streams contain everything from inventory figures and financial information to videos, images, and other unstructured data coming in from social media, mobile, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

All of these varied data types need to be:

  • Centralized
  • Organized
  • Made accessible and useable to the business

These three aspects are the true mission of enterprise data management. 

So, what is Enterprise Data Management?

Enterprise data management, often shortened to EDM, describes an organization’s capacity to integrate, govern, secure, and disseminate data from multiple data streams. This includes the ability to transfer data accurately and securely among partners, subsidiaries, applications, and/or processes.

Effective enterprise data management is no easy feat and can only be accomplished by fully understanding your data and implementing an intelligent enterprise data management strategy. 

4 Essential Components of Enterprise Data Management

Enterprise data management involves several components, including:

  1. Data Governance – Data governance refers to the policies and processes used to ensure the integrity, quality, and security of data. It is a close relative of data stewardship and encompasses the guidelines around policy enforcement, overall responsibility, and governance authority. In short, data governance establishes an organization’s data laws and how, when, and by whom they are enforced.
  2. Data IntegrationEnterprise data integration means moving and consolidating a business’s varied data into one, accessible place. This is a key component to making all the disparate data forms accessible and useable for the company. There are several different types of data integration, including virtualization, propagation, federation, and consolidation. Other methods include things like cloud integrations.
  3. Master Data Management – Data integration methods are used in Master Data Management (MDM) and there can be some confusion involving these terminologies. MDM refers to tools or applications used as part of an enterprise data management strategy to help create master versions of data and provide a consistent view of scattered data. To generalize, the difference is that data integration is about the movement and consolidation of data and making it accessible, while MDM is about reconciling a business’s data from varied sources and making it useable. 
  4. Data SecuritySecurity is an integral part of any data-related strategy. Data security often refers to the measures in place to ensure data is protected at all points of its lifecycle, including data at rest and data in transit. This protection not only refers to anti-theft and anti-leaking measures, but also to efforts that maintain data integrity and prevent corruption or destruction. 

Related Reading: 5 Types of Data Integration You Need to Know

With all of those components accounted for, it’s possible to draft an enterprise data management strategy. Below are a few best practices to keep in mind.

Enterprise Data Management Strategy Best Practices

Perform Assessment

Businesses need a clear understanding of their data flows and the types of data they have in order to craft an effective data management strategy. This work can be time-consuming, but it is a worthwhile, important process that can help ensure the methods of management employed are well matched with the data. 

Define the Process and Deliverables

Data management can be a nebulous term. It’s important for companies to outline what they hope to accomplish by implementing enterprise data management. Questions to define the focus of an enterprise management strategy include:

  • What are the end goals?
  • What is not in scope?
  • How will success be measured?

Demands on data can at times be overwhelming and some data projects can be remarkably large. In those cases, a phased approach with incremental deliverables can work well. 

Determine Standards, Policies, and Procedures

Standards, policies, and procedures are invaluable guideposts, keeping data where it needs to be and helping to prevent corruption, security breaches, and loss of data. The success of standards and policies hinges greatly on the procedures in place to enable them. Procedures give staff members methods and tools they can use to meet required standards.

Policies are also an important consideration when it comes to regulatory compliance, especially in highly regulated industries like healthcare and financial services. Not only do they protect data, they help prevent fines and penalties, and help preserve customer confidence. 

Educate and Inform Stakeholders

Enterprise data management is sure to fail if the standards, policies, and procedures surrounding it are not properly disseminated and emphasized. Additionally, enterprise data management strategies are better positioned for success if all of those who deal with data are on board with the project.

Consider an education campaign to ensure a company-wide understanding of the enterprise data management goals, the methods to achieve them, and the reasons behind the initiative. This equips staff members with a full understanding of why certain rules are in place, instead of just asking them to blindly follow them.

Emphasize Quality

Bad data is actually worse than no data at all.

Adopting a culture of data quality will help protect your data’s security and integrity and ultimately preserve its worth. This is where data stewardship comes in. It’s important for businesses to remember how valuable their data truly is and how important it is to responsibly maintain its quality.

Invest in the Right People and Technology

Understanding the art of managing data isn’t everyone’s forte. It’s best to have an in-house or consultative expert with experience establishing enterprise data management services and solutions. Their knowledge can help identify the right technologies to use for your particular use cases. They can also help your business avoid pitfalls, including accidental data loss or regulatory violations, thus aiding in a successfully, smooth EDM implementation.