rusted metal

What happens when you leave iron exposed to oxygen and moisture? It rusts. There are efforts that you can take to prevent or slow down the corrosion of the metal. But, in the end, despite your best efforts, all iron will eventually rust.

Efforts include proactive and reactive steps to extend the functional life of the iron such as applying a protective coating, limiting damage to the iron, and regular inspections and maintenance. Rust is not selective. It will destroy a framing nail left in the grass as well as a bridge that carries thousands of cars every day.

When talking about data, chemistry is probably the last thing that comes to mind it. But your data is subject to rust in exactly the same way. All data is subjected to the elements as soon as it is created.

What can your organization do to prevent data rust? When the inevitable rust is discovered, what can be done to react quickly and effectively to ensure fact-based decisions?

(Hint: It’s related to data management competencies and data governance.)

Here are some key data management competencies to address data rust:

  • Data Roles and Responsibilities – business ownership of the creation and management of data. When someone is accountable for data, then they’re less likely to let it rust.
  • Data Usage – ensure the right data is used for the right purpose. Financial information needs to be practically rust-free whereas data used for discovery does not. Recognize and understand what data should be allowed to rust (like the framing nail) and what data should not be allowed to rust (like that bridge you use daily).
  • Business Intelligence and Data Dissemination – utilize the correct data (as defined by data usage) for analytics as well as internal and external data feeds. Do not use rusty data to make key business decisions.
  • Data Retention and Information Lifecycle Management – How long do we keep data? How do we manage it throughout its lifecycle? Data can’t rust as badly if it’s been purged according to data retention schedules.
  • Data Quality – sustainable monitoring and remediation of data-related issues are the inspections and regular maintenance for your data. Despite your best efforts at prevention, data rust is inevitable. The key is to react quickly and effectively when rust is found.

The five data competencies above are only a part of everything that needs to be done by business and technical resources. It requires a sustainable effort.

Consider this. The United States Navy commits three billion dollars each year to prevent and manage rust. What are you doing to manage your data rust?

INKU has helped organizations with data management competencies and data rust. We can help you, too. No Tetanus shot required.