Data governance refers to the policies and processes that define the appropriate use of data as it flows into and out of an organization. Data governance is not implemented through a single technology but rather is a wide-ranging discipline that comprises people, processes, strategies, guidelines and tools in order to achieve its goals.
Specifically, data governance and data governance initiatives are concerned with ensuring that organizations maintain high standards throughout the data life cycle — from creation to long-term storage, archiving and disposal — for the purposes of internal policies as well as external regulations. This is important because successful data governance leads to the right decision-making based on the right data; armed with accurate, consistent and up-to-date information about customers, markets and assets, an organization is able to act properly in response to new data-changing business conditions. Conversely, companies with poor data governance systems often find themselves floundering in fast-paced market conditions, paralyzed due to a lack of information or misled into making the wrong choices.
Data governance has become especially critical for global regulatory mandates such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which among other things, protects a consumer’s “right to be forgotten,” while imposing steep financial penalties of more than $20 million — or up to 4% of annual worldwide turnover — for violations.
Data stewardship requires a system of rules that are part of a data governance framework covering program objectives, approved methods for the creation, management and disposal of data, and metrics by which all of the above are managed.
In this article, we’ll investigate data governance in more detail, discuss the benefits of data governance and provide insight on how you can get started with a data governance program in your organization.