Is Data Governance a Service or an Enabler?

Is Data Governance a Service or an Enabler?

- by Nicola Askham, Expert in Data Management

In the realm of data management, the debate over whether data governance is primarily a service or an enabler has sparked discussions and diverse opinions. So I decided to, conduct a poll on LinkedIn, seeking insights from the Data Governance community to understand their perspective on this question.

The results were interesting:

  • 83% considered data governance an enabler.
  • 12% viewed it as a service.
  • And 6% expressed indifference to the terminology.

Before we take a little deep dive into these differing views, let’s understand how data governance can be viewed as a service or as an enabler.

Data Governance as a Service

“Service” in a business context refers to a system of delivering value to an organisation by facilitating outcomes the business wants to achieve. Services are provided to support the organisation’s operations, goals, or objectives in a way that enhances efficiency, effectiveness, or competitive advantage.

When we talk about Data Governance as a service, we mean it’s a structured approach to managing data assets across the organisation that provides a comprehensive approach.

Viewing Data Governance as a service emphasises its role in providing essential capabilities and support to every part of the business, much like any other critical service such as IT or HR.

Data Governance as an Enabler

So what is an “enabler” in a business context?  It is a term usually used to refer to a tool, process, or system that facilitates or makes it possible for the business to achieve its goals, improve its operations, or gain a competitive advantage. It’s something that empowers the business to perform better, more efficiently, or more effectively.

Data governance acts as an enabler by providing the framework and guidelines necessary for managing data effectively, supporting better decision-making and operational efficiency.

Describing Data Governance as an enable changes it from being seen as a regulatory compliance necessity into a strategic enabler that supports the overall objectives of the business.

Service or Enabler?

So, which is it?

Well, although the votes indicated Data Governance as an enabler was the winner, the comments on the poll revealed diverse perspectives on whether data governance is an enabler, a service or even whether it mattered! Some people who responded coined the phrase ‘an enabler of service,’ indicating that data governance enables the service of data management.

Others rejected both labels, insisting on its necessity as part of business as usual, not a special entity in its own right. Opinions also ranged from viewing it purely as a compliance requirement to acknowledging its broader role in organisational dynamics.

Whatever the opinion, everyone who answered was able to make a good case for Data Governance being an enabler and a service.

So while it was great to get an insight into others’ thoughts on the matter it didn’t really achieve a wholehearted consensus!

My Two Cents

For what it’s worth, I think you could easily call it either, but rather than being constrained by labels, I believe that data governance should be called whatever is needed to ensure its acceptance into your organisation. Whether it’s viewed as a service, an enabler or simply a business necessity for corporate strategy, the ultimate goal is to harness its potential and deliver value for your organisation.

Whether you view it as a simple necessity or something grander, one thing that can be agreed upon is the need to get your organisation’s data governance approach right. I can help you with this.

If you want to find out how, please book a call with me.

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