Rule of Thumb for Data Governance

In today’s environment, chances are your data is one of the most important assets in your business. The concept of data governance is increasingly important for maintaining your competitive edge. It will help to support your risk management and compliance needs, and will quickly transform increasingly large amounts of data into useful information to streamline operations or for revenue generating initiatives. As affirmed by multiple industry leaders such as IBM, Oracle, and Informatica, to name a few, a well-formed governance framework that is suited to your business needs will help optimize the value of your data. 

TechTarget refers to data governance as “the overall management of the availability, usability, integrity, and security of data employed in an enterprise”. In practice, this can mean different things to different people in your business. Defining, implementing, and sustaining an effective data governance framework takes time, tenacity, and patience.  You may want to keep it simple, especially in the beginning. The basic stages for your Data Governance plan include:

  • Establish your starting point. Define your vision, mission, and SMART goals. Identify your scope, business sponsorship, and milestones.
  • Identify your stakeholders. Many governance models identify two to four main groups. First, are the decision-makers and data owners. Next, are the implementers who have the responsibility to execute decisions that typically take the form of policies, procedures, and guidelines; then, they monitor the progress. Data stewards may be categorized in this group. Depending on your business needs, the third group is facilitators. Last but not least, are stakeholders who are not part of the first three groups but, nonetheless, are affected by the scope of data governance. 
  • Determine your rules of engagement. Rules may include a list of definitions or terms (for example what is structured and unstructured data?), standards, policies, procedures, guidelines, protocols, including service level agreements, and requirements for compliance and security. Also, identify any gaps between current and future goals and what your change management process will be.
  • Implement and sustain your plan. This is where the so-called rubber meets the road. Prioritize your implementation to meet your goals, maintain communications with your stakeholders through the process, incorporate training, and routinely measure yourself against your goals.

Defining and implementing an effective data governance model can be a challenge for small, mid, and large companies alike. If done appropriately, it has great potential for you to make the best use of what is likely one of your most valuable business assets. To read more on this topic review our best practices on Data Governance page.

June, 2016

Ninestone Team