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Data Governance

Data Governance is a system of decision rights and accountabilities for information-related processes, executed according to agreed-upon models which describe who can take what actions with what information, and when, under what circumstances, using what methods.”

When you refer to governance, be careful! Depending on the context, “Data Governance” could refer to:

 

  • organisational bodies
  • rules (policies, standards, guidelines, business rules)
  • decision rights (how we “decide how to decide”)
  • accountabilities
  • enforcement methods

For people and information systems as they perform information-related processes.

 

Limit the risks

During the last few years, one can find dozens of examples of organizations which have had serious data related issues going from data quality issues to data theft. In most cases they have encountered those issues because of a lack of data management procedures. A data governance program could help the organization to coordinate those aspects and to limit the risks linked to them.

 

Information quality
A Data Governance program, by enforcing data standards and definitions and coordinating the data quality effort, will limit the risks around data quality issues. To have common data definitions in an environment where the data quality is known and under control will limit the risk that wrong decisions are taken based on incorrect data and will improve internal and external communication. For example, on a regular basis organisations –even publically quoted companies- need to republish financial statements due to data quality issues.

 

Legal standards
More and more the organizations need to comply with legal standards and regulations. The process to apply them in an organization is not always easy and the consequences of an incomplete or incorrect application might be severe. By defining clear roles and responsibilities but also by positioning it as coordinator of the data related topics, a data governance program will participate to the correct application of those standards within the organization as well as to their control.

 

Data loss/theft
When an organization is the victim of a data loss or theft the enquiry following it quite often finds out that this has been possible because of a weak or missing security. In large organizations it is not always easy to make sure that all the people have access to all the information they need and only to those. By helping to define clear data ownership as well as clear security policies and best practices corporate wise, a data governance program will help to limit those risks.

 

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