Defining Data Governance
The Emerging Importance of Data Governance Strategy
The term “data governance” has been around for decades, but only in the last several years have organizations refined their understanding of what it means in the age of big data. Both the role of, and responsibility for, data governance has undergone rapid recent evolution, as organizations face the normalization of big data and the increasingly rugged terrain of the global regulatory landscape. Organizations are quickly learning how to navigate unfamiliar territory as they contend with growing complexities in data management and compliance, but they’re also realizing that they need a sustainable; scalable, and enterprise-wide strategy to not only overcome immediate obstacles, but also to advance their long-term objectives. And as they evaluate solutions, more and more organizations are realizing that the foundation of their data management strategy must be grounded in data governance.
The trending recognition of data governance as a critical data management mechanism is evident from the results of a CIO Water Cooler survey of senior IT leadership, with 80% of respondents reporting that they have only begun implementing data governance within the past two years. But exactly how these leaders define data governance, and the initiatives they have undertaken, may vary widely. It can cover a broad scope of initiatives, and while business glossaries and data dictionaries are critical elements, a data governance program must be both comprehensive and strategic to yield maximum value. When considering an organization’s data governance approach, the following questions should be considered:
- How is data governance defined?
- When does the organization need to implement data governance?
- What will be accomplished through data governance?
- Why is data governance important to the business?
- Who shares the responsibility and roles in data governance?
The fact is, data governance is often misunderstood, and misunderstanding often leads to underestimation. Executives hesitate to allocate scarce budget dollars to data governance initiatives without quantifiable value. However, an enterprise-wide approach to governance serves many purposes, not least among them the need to increase the value of organizational data assets—which can result not only in short-term operational impact, but long- term returns.
This white paper explores how an enterprise-wide approach to a data governance strategy serves many purposes, not least among them the need to increase the value of organizational data assets.