Today’s highly competitive and fast-moving enterprise environment means that data governance is no longer a ‘nice to have’ – but is a requirement. The ability to capture large amounts of internal and external data means that organisations need the discipline to maximise the value of this data, manage the associated risks, and reduce overall costs.

What is data governance?

Data governance is the name given to the collection of metrics, policies, processes, roles and standards that ensure information is used effectively to enable organisations to achieve their goals. It also establishes the processes that ensure the security and quality of the data used within the organisation.

Data governance defines who can take what action, with what data, in what situation, and which methods they can use.

Therefore, any organisation with big data needs a well-crafted data governance strategy that clearly explains how your business will benefit from consistent data common processes and responsibilities. Your business drivers will highlight what data needs to be carefully controlled as part of your data governance strategy and the benefits you expect from this effort. The data governance strategy will then become the basis of your data governance framework.

So, for example, let’s say a business driver for your data governance strategy is to ensure that healthcare-related data is kept private. Then patient data will need to be securely managed as it passes through your business. Retention requirements, i.e. what historical information is stored and how long, will need to be designed to ensure you comply with relevant government requirements, such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

A strong data governance framework that is well managed will ensure that any roles and responsibilities relating to data are clearly defined, and accountability is agreed on across your business. After all, a well-planned data governance strategy will cover operational, strategic and tactical roles and responsibilities.

What is data governance not?

To more clearly understand data governance, it is also important to understand what it is not, as it is quite commonly confused with data management and master data management.

  • Data governance is not data management – although it is a core component of it.
  • Data governance is not data stewardship.
  • Data governance is not master data management – although data governance is essential for successful master data management (MDM)

The benefits of data governance

Having a robust data governance strategy can bring many benefits to a business, including the following:

  • A 360-degree view of each customer, enabling businesses to create an appropriate level of consistency across business activities and entities
  • A common understanding of data while allowing business units to retain flexibility
  • Consistent compliance with government regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), and industry regulations, such as PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards)
  • Data mapping allows organisations to understand the location of data, making the data assets more useable and easier for people to connect with relevant business outcomes.
  • Improvement in data management, establishing best practices and codes of conduct, ensuring all relevant areas are addressed consistently
  • Improved data quality

Data governance in the cloud

As more and more businesses realise the benefits of moving their data processes and storage to cloud integration strategies and iPaaS, the need for effective data governance increases.

A large part of moving to the cloud is about delegating some tasks, such as application development, infrastructure management and security, to third parties, which can create data sovereignty and decentralisation challenges.

This is where data governance comes in, as it is crucial for migrating content to the cloud and security purposes.

Ensure that your business is positioned to maximise data governance investments by working with Agile Recruit to ensure you have a strong data governance team.

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