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The Journey to Better BI Starts with Governance

Saum Mathur, SVP of Big Data Analytics & Information Management at CA Technologies, says there’s no question: Companies could definitely do a lot more to get greater value out of their business intelligence (BI) efforts. He also believes that data governance could be the key to getting there. By enhancing data security, better controlling access to data, and standardizing ways that data is defined and used, governance creates a single source of truth – a trusted resource that allows for less debate over data, more confident decision-making, and better business results overall.

Whether you use BI to spot future-facing trends or try to capitalize on actionable intelligence today, a recent global survey conducted by Forbes Insights reveals that 65% of senior BI executives believe that governance is particularly useful in empowering teams to uncover new insights that can yield substantial business benefits.

78% of these same executives say governance is either vital or important to their operations. As a result, they’ve started taking important steps toward a more modern, flexible approach to governance that enables users to do more with data, rather than merely enforcing control. As Carolin Borchert, Worldwide Business Systems Analyst for MTS Sensor Technologies GmbH & Co, put it, “Governance is critical, but it is because we have strong governance that we can provide our people with so much access to data.” By putting stronger governance solutions in place, organizations can expand access to data and increase adoption, while creating a single source of truth everyone can rely on.

Getting started with governance.
The first step on the path to achieving better BI through governance is to standardize the way you think of your data – your definitions, formulas, solutions, reports, and dashboards. By creating standards to be used across your entire organization, you can avoid issues like inconsistent data, formatting issues, inaccurate formulas, and the data debates that can result when people show up to the same meetings with different data.

From there, start empowering everyone in your organization with data by giving them secure access to the specific data that’s appropriate for their role, team, or department. At motorcycle retailer and manufacturer Bajaj Auto Limited, for instance, data models and dashboards are centrally managed by IT - but each individual dealership can access data authorized for their use. In this scenario, only the most experienced BI experts in the organization manage data, ensuring its overall integrity, but end-users at any level can still explore and analyze that data as they see fit.

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Finally, to take full advantage of governed business intelligence, adopt a BI solution that strikes a balance between governance and flexible features that allow end-users to really get things done –

features like the ability to seamlessly integrate data from multiple sources, or to create visualizations to easily explore, share, and take advantage of insights. Mathur believes that the real value of BI stems from looking “forward” and “outward” – not just relying on internal data but taking advantage of external data as well, to get insights into larger market trends.

Rajeev Jorapur, VP of Management Information Systems at Bajaj Auto Limited, adds, “What we really needed [in our BI solution were more] ways to more clearly visualize, assess the quality of, and develop a better understanding of what data would be the most actionable.”

The road ahead leads to greater governance.
Moving forward, BI will continue to forge an even greater balance between governance and flexibility, centralization and decentralization – with less IT control overall, and an increase in distributed BI functionality for teams and individuals. There’s no one right formula, but finding the balance that works for your organization is the real key to getting the most out of BI.

Want a good place to start? Check out Qlik, a BI platform that puts data analysis tools directly in the hands of business teams, so they can uncover the insights that matter. But just as important, Qlik also offers the governance capabilities teams need so they can trust the data behind those insights. Qlik has helped companies get more from their data, and better realize the full potential of their BI efforts, by helping them make their journey to greater governance the right way.

For more information on what it means to become a data-driven enterprise, visit qlik.com/whole-story.

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