When we say “empowered people, enabled organizations” we’re referring to providing individuals with the tools to perform their work in the most meaningful and efficient way. But as with most tools, business technology like Salesforce needs to be well-maintained, if not, it can actually do more harm than good. To ensure you’re enabling your team with the right tools, you need to start with your data—more specifically, data governance.
Simply put, when it comes to an organization’s data, garbage in=garbage out.
If individuals aren't equipped with actionable, trustworthy data, technology isn't serving its purpose. “We empower individuals within organizations by driving action through data,” says Jerry Schweiger, VP of Delivery, Integration & Analytics at Traction on Demand. “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.”
What is data governance?
Data governance is a set of principles and practices that ensure high quality data through the complete lifecycle of your data. It’s the collection of processes, roles, policies, standards, and metrics for organizations to ensure effective use of their data. It establishes a framework for who within an organization can take action upon data, in what situations, and lays out what methods.
Data governance guiding principles
When starting with data governance, it can feel like a lot to take on, but to narrow it down to your organization’s needs—you need to start with aligning your stakeholders on the guiding principles. This step helps organizations to lay out their priorities and gives them a starting point to begin on their path toward data enablement through data governance. The guiding principles are:
- Agree on a clear vision and ownership
- Understand data flows
- Ensure usability at the point of entry
- Articulate priorities
- Have “experts” support the process
- Conduct regular housekeeping
- Measure and hold accountable
Check out the video below where our data experts expand on how your organization can implement these 7 steps.
Setting the foundation for enablement
Salesforce is an agile platform, you can do anything with it. The downside of that is that there’s no guarantee you’re not going to create a bunch of custom objects and get yourself stuck. If you’ve got a good data governance program, you can be sure the system you’re building is going to remain effective, empowering your users with clean data that drive the right actions. Purchasing a best-in-class product is only the first step to empowering your employees and enabling your organization.
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.
Driving the right end-user behaviors
The adage of “garbage in=garbage out,” is ubiquitous in the world of data, so data governance tactics should seek to correct behaviors 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 de-duplication of data come in.”
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.
It’s time to align your data with your business to unlock your Salesforce potential. We know it sounds daunting, but a sound data governance structure is the key to getting there. If you’re ready to establish an architecture to make data-driven decisions we’re here to help.