What is Data Governance and Why It Matters

What is Data Governance and Why It Matters

What do we mean by data governance and why does data governance matter?  This blog post answers both of these questions.


So, what is data governance?

There are many definitions. We have a broad but at the same time somewhat focused definition of data governance.  We say that “Data governance is about best practices designed to help people access, understand, connect, protect, and effectively use your organization's data across all systems”.  The key words are “help people”.  In the past, many felt that data governance was about controlling, protecting and stopping people from doing things.  See Aaron Walker’s blog post titled “Data Governance is Foremost About Helping, Not Controlling“.  Nowadays, it's more about facilitating the use of data and helping people be more successful.  We’re not in love with the term data governance.  We like the term data governance and guidance better as it is about bringing subject matter expertise, facilitation and support to the use of data in your organization as opposed to just control.

And, why data governance matters?

Here are a few thoughts:

  • Helps with broken trust and decision making - With a lack of trust in the data, people won’t use the information because they don't believe in it – trusted data is used and is more efficient (no need for siloed data). Feel free to check out our “Building Trust in Your Data – 10 Steps to Achieve” blog post
  • Facilitates self-service - People who are trying to use data want it now (not having to ask someone for it) and that is where self-service comes in. If people can get information on the data easily then they are more effective
  • Deals with regulatory or auditing requirements - Working to better the submission of regulatory reports, or dealing with general auditing requirements, or providing documentation for major regulatory rules like GDPR are all made easier with data governance
  • Avoids making the news – To avoid fraud, to avoid misuse, and privacy leaks that could make the news, you need to control the use of the data and protect the data.

It is incredibly important in implementing data governance to think about why you're doing it.  Here is our “Start with Why” video.  Not thinking about the purpose of this data governance initiative and the outcomes are of it can often lead to a lack of success.  Determine a road map for how you're going to implement data governance and where to focus your energy.  When you think about why you're doing it, it can really help you to determine where your focus should be and help to create buy-in and enthusiasm for data governance.  Your data governance goals and priorities should be driven by the problems that you're trying to solve.  Data governance is critical for all organizations and hope that this blog post assists with knowing what it is and why it matters.  All our data governance resources (blog posts, videos, recorded webinars, etc.) can be accessed from our data governance resources page.

Data has a solution, the Data Cookbook, that can aid the employees and the organization in its data governance, data stewardship and data quality initiatives. IData also has experts that can assist with data governance, reporting, integration and other technology services on an as needed basis. Feel free to contact us and let us know how we can assist.

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Jim Walery
About the Author

Jim Walery is a marketing professional who has been providing marketing services to technology companies for over 20 years and specifically those in higher education since 2010. Jim assists in getting the word out about the community via a variety of channels. Jim is knowledgeable in social media, blogging, collateral creation and website content. He is Inbound Marketing certified by HubSpot. Jim holds a B.A. from University of California, Irvine and a M.A. from Webster University. Jim can be reached at jwalery[at]idatainc.com.

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