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Garbage in=Garbage out

June 14, 2018

Best practice data governance is the backbone of enablement through technology

When we talk about the empowered employee and the enabled organization, we're speaking at least partially about providing individuals the tools to perform their work in a more meaningful and efficient manner. But as with most tools, business technology like Salesforce needs to be well-maintained or it can actually do more harm than good. If individuals aren't armed with actionable, trustworthy data, technology isn't serving its purpose. “We empower individuals within organizations by driving action through data,” says Jerry Schweiger, Managing Director at Traction. “Individuals need clean data so they have the confidence to act according to what the data tells them. As soon as someone clicks on a piece of data, they're driving towards the correct action. If your data isn't clean and your integrations aren't solid, that individual can't leverage any of the dashboards or metrics that could be helping them determine the right course of action. Loss of trust in your system is the easiest way to lose your user audience.”

Building a Data Governance Plan

When it comes to data, it's important not to bite off more than you can chew, so organizations need to recognize where they are in their Salesforce journeys. Organizations making the move to Salesforce should adopt a long-term approach, shelving ambitious plans in favour of sustainable improvements. Ramping to an elaborate system from nothing can leave your org messy and your users reluctant to adopt the platform.

Driving the Right End-User Behaviours

There's a significant difference between a data governance program and a data governance project. In short, a data governance program tends to be more strategic while a project drills into the tactical, day-to-day practices of end-users. The adage of “garbage in=garbage out,” is ubiquitous in the world of data, so data governance tactics should seek to correct behaviours from users, helping them get back to maintaining clean, actionable data. “Here's a perfect example,” says Jerry. “You can go into the Salesforce instance of a lot of organizations and search the name of a particular account. You'll find a bunch of records with identical account names so that nobody can tell which record is the original. Now, a sales rep doesn't care which is the correct record, so they're going to link their opportunities to any of these duplicates. But what if they tie an SAP contract to the wrong account record? That can't be reversed. That's where tactical solutions like dup prevention come in.”

Dup prevention and other projects primarily help organizations clean up pre-existing issues, so they're probably not necessary for companies that are just getting started. New Salesforce customers should be focused on implementing a data governance strategy that keeps them from cluttering an account record with 600-700 fields. There's limited space on any screen, whether that's computer or mobile. Everything on the record that's visible needs to be intentionally placed and well thought out. What do people care about? If you're a sales rep working on an opportunity, the opportunity amount shouldn't be at the bottom of the record and the opp stage shouldn't be somewhere you can't find it. And if your users leverage mobile, keep it simple. Nobody wants to scroll through hundreds of fields on their phone.

The Foundations of Enablement

“Salesforce is so flexible,” says Jerry. “You can do anything with it. The downside of that is there's no guarantee you're not going create a bunch of custom objects and get yourself stuck. If you've got a data governance program, you can be sure the system you're building is going to remain effective, empowering your users with clean data that drives the right actions.” Purchasing a best-in-class product is only the first step to empowering your employees and enabling your organization.

Checkout TractionForce to learn how business leaders are building foundations for success through data governance programs.

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