Business

What Is Data Governance and Why Is Data Governance Important?

This article highlights the definition of data governance and its importance before diving deeper into more technical aspects to better understand what’s data governance overall.

What Is Data Governance?

Data governance is a collection that defines the processes, roles, policies, standards, and metrics for the end-to-end lifecycle of data that ensure the effective and efficient use of data and information for a company’s growth towards its goals. It establishes the processes and responsibilities that ensure the quality and security of the data used across a business or organization and defines who can take what action, upon what data, in what situations, using what methods.

Effective data governance ensures that data is consistent and trustworthy and doesn’t get misused. It’s increasingly critical as organizations face new data privacy regulations and rely more and more on data analytics to help optimize operations and drive business decision-making.

A well-designed data governance program typically includes a governance team, a steering committee that acts as the governing body, and a group of data stewards. They work together to create the standards and policies for governing data, as well as implementation and enforcement procedures that are primarily carried out by the data stewards. Executives and other representatives from an organization’s business operations take part, in addition to the IT and data management teams.

Why Is Data Governance Important?

If data in different systems is not collected in the same way, it is hard for people in the organization to make decisions. For example, customer names may be listed differently in sales, logistics, and customer service systems.  Whenever there is a change in the data warehouse, the data integration efforts will be harder and it will be harder to make sure that the data is accurate. If Business Intelligence and analytics accuracy are not high, data errors might not be identified and fixed. The need for effective data governance increases when data gets stored in various locations and the cloud data governance procedures such as permissions, guidelines, and metadata is inconsistent across databases. A company data governance program will result in the development of common data definitions and standard data formats that are applied in all business systems. This improves consistency for both business and compliance use.

Benefits of Data Governance

The goal of data governance is to break down the barriers that separate information.  Some companies have lots of different systems for different parts of the business without a big system for everything. Data governance is a process that makes sure all the data in a company is consistent and harmonized. Another data governance goal is to make sure that data is used properly, both to avoid introducing data errors into systems and to block potential misuse of personal data about customers and other sensitive information. To make this understandable to a child, you make the same rules all the time. Additionally, data management can help balance data collection practices and privacy mandates.

Besides more accurate analytics and stronger regulatory compliance, the benefits that data governance provides include improved data quality; lower data management costs; and increased access to needed data for data scientists, other analysts, and business users. Ultimately, data governance can help improve business decision-making by giving executives better information. Ideally, that will lead to competitive advantages and increased revenue and profits. 

Implementation of Data Governance

The initial step in building a data governance framework involves identifying the key entities of the different data assets across an enterprise and getting them or designated surrogates involved in the data governance program. The Chief Data Officer then takes the lead in creating the program’s structure, working to staff the data governance team, identify data stewards and formalize the governance committee.

Once the structure is finalized, the data governance policies and data standards must be developed, along with rules that define how data can be used by authorized personnel. Moreover, a set of controls and audit procedures are needed to ensure ongoing compliance with internal policies and external regulations and guarantee that data is used in a consistent way across applications. The governance team should also document where data comes from, where it’s stored and how it’s protected from mishaps and security attacks. 

Conclusion

Organizations today have massive amounts of data about customers, clients, suppliers, patients, employees, and more. When this information is properly used to create better insights to better understand the market and your target audience, an organization will be more successful in carrying out its projects. Data governance will also make sure that this data is trusted, well-documented, and easy to find and access within your organization, and that it is kept secure, compliant, and completely confidential. For a more in-depth guide on data governance, you can learn from the Data Governance Guide and learn more about what data governance is in more advanced terms, the principles that go into it, along with its components, and a deeper look into the details of data governance.

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