What is Data Governance and Why Does It Matter?

Louise Principe
Sep 20, 2023
what is data governance and why does it matter

Nowadays, a company’s most valuable asset isn’t cash or investments – it’s data. For this reason, prioritizing data governance across an enterprise is crucial. Looking ahead, the worldwide Data Governance market is projected to grow to $7.42 billion by 2026, reflecting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.7%.

Traditionally, executives employed a centralized, top-down data governance system to manage data quality frustrations. However, this “one-size-fits-all “approach can be the downfall of organizations aiming to expand their business. 

In an uncertain business environment, quick and flexible decision-making is necessary if businesses want to drive growth. This entails an adaptive approach to how data is controlled and consumed across an organization.

In this blog, we’ll cover the importance of modern data governance and how it can help you successfully scale your business. 

What is Data Governance and Why Does it Matter?

Definition of Data Governance

In simpler terms, data governance sets internal rules and principles for various data-related practices. It applies to the collection, storage, cleaning, processing, and disposal of data. 

Data governance is based on an organization’s needs, ensuring data is appropriately treated according to its importance. This includes assigning roles to different teams within the organization and specifying who has access to which types of data and the type of data under governance. 

Ultimately, the main goal of data governance is to ensure that data is effectively utilized and remains a valuable asset for the organization.

Importance of Data Governance

Creates a Data-Driven Organization

Data governance provides a structured framework to help transition businesses into data-driven entities. Making decisions based on reliable information allows companies to be more agile and better equipped in today’s marketplace, wherein insights drive innovation and competitive advantage.

Ensures Regulatory Compliance

Data governance plays a vital role in ensuring organizations adhere to information security standards. By implementing controlled measures to comply with regulations such as the GDPR, SOC2, or HIPAA, businesses can minimize the risk of non-compliance and associated fines.

Enhances Data Quality

Within larger companies, data quality problems often occur because teams aren’t fully aware of how information is used across different departments. When an organization adopts an effective data governance approach with clear roles and responsibilities, teams can track specific aspects of data quality most relevant to them. Overall, this leads to better data accuracy and usability.

Democratize Data

Data governance helps organizations map out and organize their data ecosystem, making it easier to see and control how data assets are managed. This approach helps break down data silos to promote sharing data across teams and encourage collaboration, resulting in a more open and transparent data culture within the organization.

Improves Data Usage

Data governance gives you an in-depth understanding of how information is utilized within the organization. This knowledge improves proactive measures and troubleshooting when addressing data-related issues, creating a data-savvy organizational culture that drives growth.

Modern Data Governance Principles

Integrating modern data governance into your business involves seamlessly incorporating these four foundational principles into your data management strategy:

Governance is for Data and Analytics

It’s important to recognize that analytics also holds significant value in research. Good data governance ensures that not only raw data but also the insights derived from analytics are reliable, providing a solid foundation for informed decision-making and strategic planning.

Governance is Personalized

Personalizing governance policies is essential to cater to the unique requirements of various projects and use cases within an organization. By tailoring governance to align with specific goals, modern data teams can operate more efficiently and effectively to improve how data is used. 

Governance is Community-Led

A community-led approach to governance fosters collaboration and harnesses the collective intelligence of different teams. Involving various stakeholders in the governance process, such as data stewards and consumers, helps organizations define policies for shared data sets. This approach ensures the data governance framework reflects the needs and perspectives of the entire organization, promoting buy-in and ownership.

Governance is a Part of Your Daily Workflow

When governance is seamlessly woven into the fabric of an organization’s operations, it becomes a natural and integral part of the daily routine. This ensures everyone can easily access and understand data regardless of their role. Making data readily available enables employees to make data-driven decisions with confidence.

A Bottom-Up Approach to Data Governance

As modern data stacks and evolving data use cases become more prevalent, traditional data governance models may need to be reevaluated. To keep up with current demands, shifting the perception of data governance from a control-oriented approach to one that emphasizes data enablement, collaboration, and value extraction is key. By adhering to the principles of modern data governance and involving all stakeholders in the process, organizations can set themselves on a path to successful digital business scaling. 

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