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Have you ever considered just how much money low-quality data is costing your organization? Well, respondents from a Gartner survey revealed an average estimated loss of $12.9 million from their companies annually. Ouch! 

There’s no question about it– no organization wants this fate. To reduce the risk of such a costly asset leak, you need to improve the quality of your Salesforce data while staying compliant. 

That’s where having a Salesforce data dictionary is your secret weapon. The benefits of a Salesforce data dictionary include:

  • Empowering your organization stay compliant
  • Helping your admins reduce time documenting changes and focus on more important initiatives 
  • Mitigating the risk of inaccurate data
  • Ensuring consistency across your business areas

Read on to learn more about what data governance is, why a data governance framework is important, and four reasons why a Salesforce data dictionary is necessary for compliance today.

What is Data Governance?

Data governance is a way to manage not only the security of data, but also its integrity and usability in your enterprise system. It helps create standards and policies for internal data usage throughout your organization. 

Just like any other process you implement in your business, you want to make sure it’s effective. How can you tell? When data governance ensures data is consistent, trustworthy, and doesn’t get misused, it’s considered effective. To make this happen, you’ll need a data governance framework in place.

An effective enterprise data governance framework typically develops common data definitions and standard data formats to apply to all business systems. This is important because without a unified language for your data across business systems and users, things can get messy… fast. Not only could messy data lead to data corruption or loss, but your admins have to make Salesforce changes blindly. And poorly managed Salesforce changes could lead to massive breaks, wasted time, loss in revenue, and worse– huge non-compliance fees.  

Why is Salesforce Data Governance Important?

Do the terms GDPR, HIPAA, or PCI ring a bell? These regulations (along with others) require data classification, which in turn has made the practice of data governance much more critical. Your business is likely required to follow one or more of these regulations, so you must be able to confidently classify your data to adhere to them.

How you classify your data matters. Manual data classification has always been the norm– until now. As you’ve likely seen or experienced in the past, manually entering and manipulating data is incredibly difficult to upkeep, leads to numerous challenges, and results in a number of risks. 

Risks of poor data governance can include:

1. Data breaches & leakage

These are not just harmful to your company, but to your employees and clients too. They can give your competitors inside information, or even put sensitive, personal information of stakeholders in the hands of predators.

Data breaches and leakage will also reduce the trust your customers have with your organization which will inevitably lead to reduced revenue and hindered reputation. 

2. Regulatory non-compliance

Regulatory non-compliance consequences depend on the regulation or legislation and the scale of the convention. But regardless, these consequences are never good for your business and will ultimately always result in reduced revenue and wasted time.  

Consequences your company may face include fines, penalties, damaged reputation, business closure, and even prison time.

3. Data privacy fines 

Data privacy has become a hot topic in recent years as businesses are gathering and documenting more consumer data than ever before. In 2022, the average cost of a fine related to issues with data privacy was $4.35 million. Yikes! 

With such harsh punishments, organizations are no longer willing to risk Salesforce  data quality issues. That’s where a data dictionary becomes invaluable as a tool for your data governance program.

4 Reasons You Need a Salesforce Data Dictionary for Compliance

As mentioned above, a successful data governance framework will provide universal definitions for your Salesforce metadata and implement standard formatting for data across your organization’s business systems. Of course, this is easier said than done– especially if you’re relying on manual processes to document your data changes. 

If you’re like many organizations,  you’ve found maintaining a data dictionary to be a challenge. Not to mention, it seems like it’s slowing down your business processes.  But the truth is, it isn’t the processes– it’s the manual labor going into them. That’s where having an automated data dictionary becomes a game changer. 

Having an automated data dictionary can help streamline your data governance and compliance efforts in four key ways: 

1. Common data standard

It all starts with the data governance framework. This framework allows you to define data rules to achieve data integrity and consistency across your entire organization. Creating definitions for simpler data literacy can make a world of difference for your GTM teams by eliminating silos, reducing tech debt, and empowering analysts to make better-informed business decisions.

2. Data interoperability 

To enable effective data analysis, you need a controlled, smooth interchange of information between applications. A governance process is key to keeping ownership of data and structure in order. You can think of this as a flow of data between systems– and Sonar’s data dictionary feature can make this much easier for your teams by automatically tracking changes, defining and updating data terms and elements throughout your Salesforce org.

3. Data access and usage

If there’s one thing you can count on in the future, it’s the fact that access to data and the volume of data requests will continue to increase. While this is happening, data governance ensures data is used and shared appropriately. A Salesforce data dictionary offers a way to identify which data is being accessed through integrations and managed packages.

4. Data security and privacy

In order to avoid data and privacy breaches, the upkeep of data security and privacy is non-negotiable. A data governance framework helps to do just that while also helping businesses meet any compliance obligations. A data dictionary makes it even easier to keep data secure by providing a clear context of the sensitivity in one place.

Conclusion: Reduce risks and improve change management with a Salesforce Data Dictionary

No business wants to suffer the consequences of non-compliance when it comes to data management. And most organizations can’t afford to face the consequences either. Understanding the importance of data governance and how a data dictionary improves compliance is the first step toward higher-quality data, improved processes, and peace of mind.

Even though the proper maintenance of data is necessary to stay compliant, it doesn’t have to be difficult! Sonar’s Data Dictionary Feature can help you and your GTM teams apply context to your data, which in turn improves your team’s agility– all while managing risks and reducing costs. Don’t believe it? Try Sonar free today