Data Governance

Saying No to Data Swamps: How to Protect Your Data Lakes

Without proper oversight, your data lake can easily become a data swamp that delivers little value to your business. Here’s how to stop that from happening.

Data lakes can be valuable to your organization. They serve as centralized repositories for your important business data. You can tap into these repositories to secure customer information, perform data analytics processes, and gain actionable insights about your industry.

And while data lakes offer many advantages over alternatives like data marts and data warehouses, they can quickly become unruly if not properly managed. Before you know it, your data lake will become a chaotic data swamp that is difficult to govern, much less use to support your analytics initiatives.

Thankfully, you can say “no” to data swamps, protect your data quality, and drive positive outcomes for your business. Here’s how to do so.

Benefits of Saying No to the Data Swamp

By proactively working to preserve your data lake, you can pave the way for the following:

Improved Data Quality

Swamp water is laden with bacteria and other impurities that make it unsafe for consumption. While dangerous bacteria may not taint a data swamp, the information it contains may be equally unsafe to use. You can always optimize your data quality by cleaning your lake and keeping it pure. Maintaining a high-quality threshold is critical to your analytics and business intelligence processes.

Increased Data Usability

All your business data fails to hold any value if your stakeholders cannot use it. Still, you'll improve your data's usability by saying “no” to the data swamp. You can leverage your centralized repository of information to conduct advanced analytics, identify consumer trends, and capitalize on emerging growth opportunities.

Greater Trust in Your Data

Before relying on an analytics report to guide your decision-making efforts, you must trust your data. Inaccurate information can lead you astray and cost your business thousands in lost opportunities.

If your data lake is pure, you can be confident in your business data and the reports generated with that information. Trust in your data will empower you to make informed decisions promptly and efficiently, resulting in better business outcomes that benefit your bottom line.

Reduced Cost and Inefficiencies

Though it is hard to count the costs of missed opportunities, falling behind the latest trends and customer habits can leave your business reeling. This is precisely why you must prevent your lake from becoming a data swamp.

When you clean up the swamp, you can increase data visibility, reduce costs, and promote overall business efficiency. As your business becomes more agile, you will gain the ability to eliminate wasteful spending habits and decrease overhead expenses.

Strategies for Saying No to the Data Swamp

To keep data pollution from turning your lake into a data swamp, you will need a multifaceted approach that incorporates all of the following strategies.

Establish Data Governance

Think of your data governance strategy as the filter that keeps the impurities out of your data lake. A cohesive governance plan will help you promote good data security, manage intake processes, and optimize usability. Without clear data governance protocols in place, it is virtually impossible to say “no” to the data swamp.

Implementing Data Quality Management

A data quality management strategy falls under the umbrella of data governance, and as its name implies, it focuses on removing any inaccurate data from your lake. Additionally, quality management efforts should establish clear protocols for collecting data so that you can ensure information is both accurate and usable.

Conducting Regular Data Audits

Data audits serve two key purposes.

First, performing regular audits gives you an opportunity to examine the state of your data lake. If your lake is becoming a swamp, an audit will help you determine why so you can remedy the issue.

Secondly, audits are a component of data governance and compliance. As such, performing an extensive self-assessment is an excellent way to determine if your current data governance and compliance protocols are actually working. These assessments also allow you to make adjustments and refine your policies so you can protect your data lake if they aren’t.

Overcoming Challenges to Saying No to the Data Swamp

As you strive to prevent your lake from becoming a data swamp, you will likely encounter the following three challenges:

Resistance to Change

The “this is how we have always done it” mindset is detrimental to your data governance efforts. Employees who don’t understand the need for change will likely resist it. As such, keep your employees apprised of your governance efforts and explain why data swamps harm business operations. When they know the “why” behind them, employees will likely be more supportive of proposed changes.

Lack of Resources

Implementing new data governance policies and tools requires time, human capital, and financial resources. When businesses are already strapped for cash or staff, it can be tough to justify significant data management changes.

While investing in data swamp safeguards will entail a considerable initial cost, your organization will enjoy long-term cost-saving benefits. Remember to relay these benefits to your C-suite to help get them on board.

Inadequate Support from Leadership

On the subject of the C-Suite, a lack of buy-in and support from leadership makes it hard to prevent your data lake from becoming a swamp. We suggest winning decision-makers over with logic and data. When you present them with cold hard facts, they will be much more open to making significant data governance policy changes or investing in new tech.

How Syniti Can Help

It seems as though everyone is leveraging data lakes these days, and that’s for a good reason: They are an excellent tool for supporting business analytics.

Still, if you want to make the most of your data lake, you need to say “no” to data swamps. To do that, you’ll need the support of an experienced partner like Syniti.

Our all-in-one enterprise data management solution eliminates the cost, complexity, and sprawl of disparate data tools so you can protect the integrity of your data lake. Schedule a demo with us to learn more.

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