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June 2017, Vol. 5, No. 3

Data governance programs loom larger than ever in the big data era

Big data, when managed properly, can be a blessing to businesses fighting to gain greater insights and a competitive edge in the global marketplace. And it can be a curse to companies unprepared to handle the untold x-bytes of unstructured data unceasingly pouring into their coffers. That's the dilemma most organizations wake up to each day, and as a result, they capture only a fraction of the value that big data analytics promises. At no time is there greater urgency for companies to establish data handling policies and procedures that only good data governance programs can provide.

June's Business Information opens with a stern warning in our editor's note: Don't wait till it's too late to initiate a data governance program. Big data governance can be a highly complex process. Its tentacles reach into most aspects of data management, from data gathering, integration and preparation to quality control. Even more difficult is securing the cooperation of a potentially reluctant and resistant workforce intimidated by thoughts of a data police force regulating and scrutinizing their work. For those reasons, most companies have taken the path of least resistance and avoided setting up formal and reliable data governance programs -- much to their own peril.

Our cover story then stresses the importance of establishing data governance policies dedicated to placing customers first. The lack of such rules has led to customer privacy violations, millions of lost dollars in legal settlements and famous brands nearly destroyed. Data governance provides the necessary checks and balances that help companies adhere to responsible behavior when they probe into the minds and habits of their customers. In our feature, we examine companies that have taken on the challenge of governing their vast data lakes by piecing together various governance tools and mechanisms in do-it-yourself fashion. And we devote numerous more features and columns to help companies apply data governance principles in ways that can bring order to chaotic big data environments.

Also in this issue, see how a small wine shop uses ready-made big data analytics to outsmart much larger stores as they all compete in the same neighborhood for the same customers.

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