A 7-step recipe for data governance: Perfecting your digital foundation

May 9, 2023 | 5 minute read
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By Edward Roske, Chief Performance Officer, Argano

Think back to the last time you were at a busy restaurant. Along with the other hungry customers, you eagerly waited for your delicious meal to arrive. Glancing towards the open kitchen, you saw a bustling place full of staff working together to create culinary masterpieces. The head chef was barking orders like a wannabe Gordon Ramsay, the sauté chef was flipping pans on the stove, the pastry chef was frosting cakes, and the line cook was grilling steaks. Each chef had their specialty, but they were all working together in harmony to create a cohesive, tasty, and timely dining experience for the customers.

The secret sauce? Data governance.

Just like the kitchen in a restaurant, building a strong digital foundation requires teamwork and coordination. In the digital world, data is the raw ingredient that must be carefully managed and transformed into valuable insights. What makes sure this transformation doesn’t result in something tasting not unlike garbage? Data governance. The activity of managing your enterprise data is like the head chef who ensures that every dish is made according to an exact recipe and meets the high standards of the restaurant.

Data governance is the set of processes and policies that ensure that data is properly managed and protected throughout its lifecycle. It involves defining who can access and use the data, how the data should be handled, and how it should be disposed of when it is no longer needed.

Just as chefs and their staff use recipes to ensure that their dishes are consistent and of high quality, data governance uses policies and procedures to ensure that data is properly managed and protected. This includes defining data security, determining how the data should be reported on (including how it should be aggregated as it goes up the hierarchy), and maintaining data only as long as it needs to be retained.

In a restaurant, not everyone in the kitchen has access to all the ingredients; some staff members are responsible for preparing the raw ingredients, while others are responsible for cooking and plating the dishes. In the same way, not all employees in an organization need access to all the data. Data governance policies define who can access and use the data, and how the data should be protected from unauthorized access.

Imagine a chef who decides to use a new ingredient without considering how it will affect the taste of the dish. This could lead to a disaster in the kitchen, just like using data without proper governance can lead to problems in an organization. Data governance policies help to prevent these kinds of problems by ensuring that data is used in a consistent and controlled manner.

The recipe for success

Now that we've covered why data governance is essential for building a strong digital foundation, let's dive into the 7-step recipe for data governance success:

  1. Define your data vision and goals: What do you want to achieve with your data? This is your equivalent of deciding what dish you want to prepare. Will it be a juicy cauliflower steak, creamy pasta, or light salad? Maybe you have an entire menu of data governance goals? Having a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish with your data sets the foundation for a successful data governance program.
  2. Assemble the right team: You can't make a great meal alone. Similarly, effective data governance requires collaboration from different departments and stakeholders. Assemble a cross-functional team of data managers, IT specialists, business owners, and stakeholders to work together towards a common goal.
  3. Inventory your ingredients: In the kitchen, you need to know what ingredients you have on hand before you start cooking. The same is true for data governance. Conduct a thorough inventory of your data assets, including what data you have, where it resides, who is responsible for it, and which business applications are using it. This step is key to identifying any gaps in your data management and ensuring data quality. Enterprise data management is only possible if you have a handle on your ingredients.
  4. Establish your cooking methods: How will you prepare and serve your data? Will you bake it, fry it, or sauté it? The cooking method you choose will affect the outcome. Similarly, the processes you establish for managing, storing, and using your data will have a significant impact on the quality of your data.
  5. Season to taste: Just as you add spices to your dish to give it flavor, you need to add governance policies, standards, and procedures to your data management to ensure that data is being used correctly. These policies should be tailored to meet the unique needs of your organization.
  6. Cook to perfection: It's time to start cooking! Use the technology, processes, and people you have assembled to manage your data according to your governance policies. Monitor your data regularly to ensure it is being used correctly and to identify any opportunities for improvement. Make sure that your team is communicating constantly.
  7. Serve with a smile: Finally, it's time to serve your digital foundation to your customers and stakeholders. Share your data with confidence knowing that it is of the highest quality, properly managed, and secure. And remember to serve it with a smile – just like a great chef in a top-notch restaurant!

However, just like in a restaurant, things don't always go as planned. That's why it's important to have a taste tester and the right equipment to help. In the digital world, this is the role of a data steward and an application like Oracle Enterprise Data Management (EDM). The data steward is responsible for ensuring that data is being used and managed in accordance with the data governance framework. They are the ones who will taste-test your data and ensure it's up to the standards set by the recipe. Oracle EDM is a cloud-based solution that allows your team of data stewards, data managers, business owners, and other stakeholders to align and manage the enterprise data from different enterprise applications all from one, secure place. Using this solution, one of your most valuable ingredients—your enterprise data—can be managed and governed to produce valuable and accurate insights for your entire organization.

A perfectly baked digital foundation

When it comes to building a strong digital foundation, data governance ensures that all dishes are cooked to perfection and served with precision. In the same way, by following these seven steps to data governance, you'll be whipping up a winning recipe for enterprise data management that is of the highest quality, properly managed, and as trustworthy as a gourmet meal from a Michelin-rated restaurant.

Within your grasp is a world where your data is organized like a perfectly arranged pantry, where each item has its place and is easily accessible when needed. No more digging through a pile of stale crackers to find the precious jar of truffle oil or searching for that one specific file buried deep within the depths of your computer. With the proper data governance in place, you'll have peace of mind knowing that your data is well-maintained, protected, and ready for action when you need it.

So, put on your chef’s hat, grab your apron, preheat your digital oven, and let's get cooking! Embrace the power of data governance and watch as your digital foundation earns a 5-star Yelp review.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions as you cook up your data governance strategy. Please email me at Edward.Roske@Argano.com and hey, stay safe out there. Even master chefs can find themselves in a kitchen nightmare.

Learn how your company can adapt and respond to change faster and more effectively by managing your master data with Oracle Enterprise Data Management.

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