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The Data Governance Commandments

This is the second of our Data Governance Series. Read the first part here.

The Four Pillars of
Data Governance

Our Data Governance
Commandments are simple principles that can help your organization get its data
story straight, and get more value from customer, performance or employee data.

Data governance is a wide-reaching disciple, but like all
walks of life, there are a handful of essential elements you need in place
before you can start really enjoying the benefits of a good data governance
strategy. These are the four key pillars of data governance:

People

Data is like any other asset your business has: It needs to
be properly managed and maintained to ensure it continues delivering the best
results.

Enter the data steward; a role dedicated to managing, curating
and monitoring the flow of data through your organization. This can be a
dedicated individual managing data full-time, or just a role appended to an
existing employee’s tasks.

But do you really need one? If you take your data seriously,
then someone should certainly be taking on this role; even if they only do it
part-time.

Processes

So what are these data stewards doing with your data
exactly? That’s for you to decide, and it’s the quantity and quality of these
processes that will determine just how successful your data governance program
is.

Whatever cleansing, cleaning and data management processes
you undertake, you need to make sure they’re linked to your organization’s key
metrics. Data accuracy, accessibility, consistency and completeness all make
fine starting metrics, but you should add to these based on your strategic
goals.

Technology

No matter how ordered your data is, it still needs somewhere
to go, so you need to make sure your data warehouse is up to task, and is able
to hold all your data in an organized fashion that complies with all your
regulatory obligations.

But as data begins filling up your data warehouse, you’ll
need to improve your level of data control and consider investing in a tool to
better manage metadata: the data about other data. By managing metadata, you
master the data itself, and can better anticipate data bottlenecks and
discrepancies that could impact your data’s performance.

More importantly, metadata management allows you to better
manage the flow of data—wherever it is going. You can manage and better control
your data not just within the data warehouse or a business analytics tool, but
across all systems, increasing transparency and minimizing security and
compliance risks.

But even if you can control data across all your systems, you
also need to ensure you have the analytics to put the data to use. Unless actionable insights are gleaned from your data, it’s
just taking up space and gathering dust.

Best Practices

For your data governance to really deliver—and keep
delivering—you need to follow best practices.

Stakeholders must be identified and held accountable,
strategies must be in place to evolve your data workflows, and data KPIs must
be measured and monitored. But that’s just the start. Data governance best
practices are evolving rapidly, and only by keeping your finger on the pulse of
the data industry can you prepare your governance strategy to succeed.

How Many Have You
Got?

These four pillars are essential to holding up a great data
governance strategy, and if you’re missing even one of them, you’re severely
limiting the value and reliability of your data.

If you’re struggling to get all the pillars in place, you
might want to read our short guide to data
governance success.

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