By Frank Suglia, Vice President of Technical Services, BitTitan
Within the last 24 months, many organizations found themselves rushed to move their data and workloads to the cloud to implement remote work plans for their workforces. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic forced many companies to expedite their plans for cloud migrations and digital transformation.
However, the rush to deploy company-wide cloud solutions often occurred without a larger data governance plan, as time was short and the need to deploy a remote-work plan was too pressing. Over time, this trend resulted in more occurrences of data sprawl, or the overwhelming amount of data that enterprises produce, which only grows with increased reliance on remote operations. Data sprawl can clutter IT environments and result in significant workplace challenges with accessing the correct information.
Data sprawl is becoming increasingly problematic with the rise in data creation. IDC found that the amount of data created and replicated spiked in 2020 due to the increase in people working from home. IDC forecasts that the amount of digital data created over the next five years will grow at a faster rate than installed storage capacity.
Two years after the pandemic’s start, as companies review their overarching cloud strategies and look to maximize value from their cloud technologies and environments, introducing a data governance model must top their list. Below are five tips for introducing governance to ensure your IT environment is optimized for the long term.
1. Formulate a Governance Plan
When looking at how your business can optimize its IT environment, companies must first create a solid governance plan and identify opportunities for introducing this. Any instance of migrating data or consolidating your IT resources can be an ideal chance.
A governance plan should outline your company’s overarching mission and supporting objectives to make it actionable. IT leaders should make trainings available to employees to educate them on best data governance and management practices and how to apply them in their workflows and technologies. These measures will lay the foundation for success.
2. Clean House
Similarly, a cloud migration or IT consolidation poses the perfect opportunity to clean house of unnecessary or redundant data. Use this opportunity to audit your data and rid your system of what you no longer need.
IT teams must understand the compliance guidelines that apply to their company’s data, which vary across industries. These rules will factor into what data can be eliminated and how to structure your IT environment. If a significant amount of old data must be kept for compliance reasons, consider storing it on an archival server and limit access to only those who need it.
3. Review Your IT Structure
Governance may inform how you structure your IT environment. When migrating data, carefully review how data in your current environment maps to the new environment. Closely monitor the data limits for items such as mailboxes, document folders, and platforms like Microsoft Teams.
Sprawl can often occur in Teams instances. Take a good look at the teams and channels your organization has created. You may identify a better way to structure teams, channels, document libraries, or SharePoint, which can help mitigate sprawl.
4. Consider a Data Governance Lead
Effective governance must focus on taking proactive steps to use technology in responsible and efficient ways. It may be wise to hire a data governance lead to ensure success. This person can define the reporting and methodologies for allocating technology resources and measuring the associated costs. They should report to company leadership, such as the CTO or CIO, to ensure governance practices are prioritized and the lead has the necessary support for implementing the governance plan.
Alternatively, depending on your business needs, a company can invest in a third-party technology solution to assist with managing governance. Empowering your IT team with the right third-party solution may help your business improve reporting, tracking, and measuring other insights around managing data.
5. Continue to Invest in Governance
Successful governance is also about ongoing management. Invest in the right tech solutions that help support your governance initiatives. The right tools can help improve employee workflows and increase productivity and efficiency.
In identifying the ideal tech solutions, businesses should consider if they should leverage out-of-the-box technologies or build their own. Establish your selection criteria and carefully weigh the pros and cons to determine what will best serve your business’s needs. Success is ultimately determined by how new technology aligns with your organization’s operations. In some cases, custom technologies are most suitable.
Optimizing your IT environment starts with establishing a solid governance plan, clearing house of unnecessary data, and employing the right individuals to manage governance practices and processes. Be proactive in introducing data governance and educate your employees on its importance. Taking steps now to implement a governance plan will enable your company to advance its digital transformation goals, operate more efficiently, and position your company for future success.
Frank Suglia is the vice president of technical sales at BitTitan, where he works closely with the company’s partners to showcase and drive new and recurring revenues. His areas of expertise include SaaS, digital marketing and performance optimization, enterprise solution delivery, technology sales and delivery methodologies, and user interface design.