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What is Data Governance and How Does It Fit Within a Larger Data Strategy? 

Posted on:

March 30th, 2023

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Insights & Thought Leadership
What is Data Governance and how does it fit within a larger data strategy

Data, its storage, use, management and governance are part of daily conversation in modern business. This terminology has become commonplace, although we often find people enter the conversation after it has already begun as such remaining unclear on the definitions, differentiations or how these elements interact with each other.  

Following are a few common questions about data governance offering a solid introduction to the subject area. Once these are understood we can realise the importance of data governance within a larger data strategy. 

What is Data governance? A data governance definition. 

Data governance is the establishment of standards, policies and procedures your organisation uses in relation to your data. 

Is data storage the same as data governance? 

Storage of data in a data warehouse, data lake or central repository is not data governance. The controls in place around storing, processing, accessing and utilising this data are part of the data governance program. 

Data management vs data governance 

Data management puts into practice the procedures and policies data governance has established. 

Data governance framework 

A data governance framework is a structure within which a business allocates responsibilities, makes decisions, and acts on enterprise data. It consists of policies, conventions, processes, organisational structures and technologies. 

Why is data governance important? 

Data governance plays a crucial role within modern enterprise by establishing and enforcing processes business wide, effectively ensuring the integrity and accuracy of the data used across the organisation in a cohesive and unified manner. Without this key information can be misplaced, isolated and repeated. Missing and redundant information can easily disrupt and distort business processes and business intelligence generated from the data. 

What is the goal of data governance? 

The main goal of data governance is to standardize data practices across the organisation so ensuring the data quality, data security and legal compliance of data collection, storage and use. 

Where does data governance fit within a larger data strategy? 

Data governance is a key component of any organisations overall data strategy. As you can see from the explanations above, without these policies and procedures in place there is no way to oversee the accuracy of data leveraged by a company. Without this assurance of the quality of data used there is no clear path to achieving positive business outcomes such as increased revenue or reduced costs.  

We often assist customers as a part of their data journey in developing data governance capabilities, understanding the importance of high-quality data in their path to growth and ROI in their data strategy overall. 

As data flows through every aspect of the modern enterprise, data governance touches all areas of data strategy. The key concept to remember is to access the value held within your data it first must be standardised, organised and available.  

For example, if your data were a transaction history of all of the transactions you have made throughout your life you would simply not know how much money you have to spend or withdraw if the history was not in chronological order, listed in various currencies and held in multiple accounts around the world. Similarly, once the information is organised in a standardised way, in a set order, expected locations and accepted languages, your data is ready to be leveraged and the assets held within utilised for growth, insight and many other positive business outcomes. 

Data governance is party to all conversations involving data, thought the term is not always used directly. We often speak of the importance of data quality, timeliness and accessibility. This is all part of the governance conversation. Drop us a message to discuss your data governance needs or the business outcomes you would like to achieve. We can help guide you on your data journey.