The Growing Importance of Data Governance

Data Governance

Companies are relying on their data like never before, and this has created a need for organizations to hunker down and get serious about the quality of the information they use to gain business insights. Data Governance is by no means a new phenomenon, but one that is certainly becoming vital to the modern data-driven enterprise. In fact, Forrester polled 164 companies recently to see how they are balancing the need for analytics and Data Governance simultaneously. To successfully highlight the growing importance of governance planning, we first need to put it into perspective.

Think of the relationship between members of government and those they are elected to serve. First and foremost, the governors are supposed to keep their constituents safe. Governments organize themselves in such a way that facilitates learning, growth and the overall success of the state they represent. Governing bodies typically focus on maintaining order and ensuring the smooth function of the state.

Not to get political, but a good enterprise Data Governance plan will consist of a similar framework. Since a governance strategy consists of Data Management and data quality techniques through a system of rights to decision, the same factors will be relevant. Real Data Governance requires ongoing monitoring to promote continuous improvement, and the formation of a governance council is vital to this kind of program. The organization of the governance council should be solely based on the culture of the organization, but should include all of the company’s key stakeholders from departments near and far.

Data Governance has one goal: to standardize the efforts of people and processes to optimize data integrity and quality. However, in our modern world of increasing data volumes, it can be a great challenge for companies to balance the need for Data Governance and Data Analytics.

Like a functional government, a data-governing body should be able to compromise for the good of the organization. The governing council will exercise near-hegemonic authority, control and shared decision-making over the management of the organization’s data assets, similar to how a political governing body would a state’s natural resources. As the core component of Data Management, a proper Data Governance strategy will get stakeholders involved in deciding on data definitions and in supporting consistent data use across the business.

Governments come in many forms, shapes and sizes. Data Governance strategies can come in either highly or loosely-structured bodies, again depending on the culture that already exists within an organization. Much of what a governance plan aims to accomplish will depend on the personnel. However, when all is said and done, success depends solely on stakeholder involvement and representation, so it’s important to ensure that all of the prominent departments are accounted for and have their voices heard.

Deploying Data Governance, as you can probably imagine, is no picnic. Initially, companies must be prepared for more questions than answers, as there are sure to be challenges to data ownership and lots of inconsistencies across competing departments. However, with careful planning, the right tools, and a data governing council willing to come together for the common good of the organization, data quality can be achieved.

Many organizations struggle to find the balance between governance procedures and giving themselves the ability to perform data analytics. Thus, governance plans need to be developed in a way that still enables the deployment of analytics that can have a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

Click here for a free download of Forrester’s study on delivering governed data for analytics at scale.

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Timothy King

Senior Editor at Solutions Review
Timothy is Solutions Review's Senior Editor. He is a recognized thought leader and influencer in enterprise BI and data analytics. Timothy has been named a top global business journalist by Richtopia. Scoop? First initial, last name at solutionsreview dot com.
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