Why you need to develop a data governance framework

Data governance might sound imposing, but it is a critical factor in today’s modern organisation.

For most organisations data is one of its most valuable assets. And like all valued assets it needs to be cared for – and this is where data governance and the application of a data governance framework comes in. This allows you to understand the data you need to govern, who is involved and how it will be governed. This ultimately helps you to manage your risk, reduce your costs and maximise your data value and ensure your data is reliable. 

Data Governance

What is data governance? 

Data governance is a collection of policies, frameworks, procedures, people and culture that collectively ensure the effective, efficient and reliable use of data to support your organisation achieve its objectives and vision. 

Data Governance Framework

What is a data governance framework and why do you need one?

Data Governance framework defines the requirements for data governance within your organisation. It comprises of the technical components required to build the framework and the people components required to ensure that the framework has business buy-in and will be adopted and applied. 

You might hear the word governance and think ‘oh no, it’s all about controls and risk’. But a data governance framework is really important.  

It also shouldn’t be only about risk, but enabling an organisation to meet their overarching objectives, as well as being in a position to identify business opportunities. A key question to ask is ‘how can your data governance framework help your organisation meet its objectives and vision?’. 

How To 

Develop a data governance framework.

To commence the development of your data governance framework, the first place to start is your organisational requirements, culture and capabilities. You may commence this work as part of a broader data strategy project, or it may be done on its own. Either way, the intent is to form an enterprise view of what is needed.

At Data Agility, we work with our clients to engage with their key organisational stakeholders to determine what requirements they have for their data governance. We use our strawman data governance framework to do this, which includes such elements as data quality, data architecture, and data ownership and how it applies to their organisation.   

When working with stakeholders, it is important to understand what data issues they’re trying to resolve. What is it that you need to govern in terms of data assets that you have currently? Data assets may include finance data, customer data or product data. Is the data structured (for instance, in systems) or unstructured (for instance, within documents). Are there issues with sharing data, such as data being held in siloes? Are there issues with the quality of the data, which in turn leads to unreliable data that you can’t make sound business decisions with? 

Another key component is the organisational culture surrounding data. Is data seen as a priority? Is it valued? Is it held onto closely and treasured? Do people care about their data?  

If not, why not? What would need to be implemented to change the way the organisation approaches data? How literate are your team when it comes to data? And why does your organisation need data? Can your data be linked to the overarching organisational strategic plans or business drivers to elevate its relevance or importance? If you can show a sound business case for the reason why a data governance strategy is so important, you will have more success in the development and implementation of it. 

Next Steps

Do you need help to develop your data governance framework? 

As you can see, data governance isn’t just about the technical components, but more importantly as about your organisation’s vision and objectives, your people’s  awareness, capabilities and attitude. That’s why at Data Agility, we want to capture these things in this early stage of the development of a data governance framework. 

Coming up in the next blog, we delve into the data governance framework, operating model and plan. 

If you would like assistance developing your data governance framework, speak to one of our data governance experts today. 

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