Why Data Governance is the Missing Link in your Impacts Strategy

Sustainability NGOs and initiatives dedicate the majority of their resources to pursuing their missions, and they are experiencing growing pressures to keep pace with the demands of our digital age.

The pressures are often linked to their ability to demonstrate evidence of impact. Data and information sit behind evidence, as does data management capacity and how it connects to organizational decision-making and governance structures. This is how data and information has become the new raw material for accountability and transparency of impacts. 

So what does this mean for sustainability efforts? There is a broad spectrum of practice and tools available to harness the value of information assets, from emerging technology solutions like blockchain, drones and IoT devices, to enterprise CRM tools, digital data collection tools, and online platforms. However, organizations can struggle to identify the best starting point for using data effectively. To address growing pressures, they often start by implementing a technology solution focusing on just one dimension of data value creation, such as digital data collection or data storage needs across programs. However, there is a system that can be put in place incrementally to significantly improve the value of investments in digital innovations. 

The steps organizations can take and which already exist by way of current data management processes are part of data governance. Data governance helps connect people, data, processes and resources by a series of mapping and documentation efforts. Data governance is the foundation for using data to demonstrate impact. Data governance benefits include enabling an organization to target the best investments in technology solutions, empower data stewards, identify precisely where data quality improvements can be made, and identify what kinds of legal support is needed to craft data sharing policy and share data responsibly. Investing in data governance will not only provide quick wins but will also build long-term stable, scalable capacity to meet stakeholder information needs.

With guidance and support, many organizations can make incremental investments in this essential ‘plumbing’ to deliver value with data. A data governance program composed of articulated leadership roles, process mapping tools, and living resources to empower data stewards can go a long way in helping organizations capture high value opportunities in data innovations.

Contact me to discuss how data governance can help you get the most from your monitoring and evaluation program and fuel your impacts strategy.

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