What Is Data Governance?
Data governance is not a set of technologies but rather an organizational discipline, says Stewart Bond, vice president of IDC’s data integration and intelligence software service. Data governance is a set of processes and policies for how an organization’s data is secured, cleaned, managed and used.
“If you don’t know where your data is, what it looks like, where it’s flowing, how it’s flowing through the organization, where it came from, where it’s going, who owns it, and if you’re not assigning accountability, you can’t even begin to govern it,” Bond says.
Why Is Data Governance Important for Businesses?
Data governance is crucial to ensuring organizational compliance with industry, national and potentially international regulations on how users’ data is protected, stored and used.
“It really comes back to how you are managing and governing your data,” Schulz says. “That really gets back to how you are protecting it. How are you making sure that you are compliant — that not just your data but your applications that are using that data are compliant?”
It’s critically important for businesses to have intelligence about their data, Bond says, because “if they don’t have that, what are they even governing?”
Data governance is also a crucial tool for balancing between data security and efforts to innovate data usage, he says. Bond notes that data analysts often spend about 80 percent of their time looking for or preparing data for analysis and 20 percent performing analytics and gleaning insights.
Data governance can change that ratio. “If they could, analysts would spend less time looking for data and they’d spend less time preparing data,” Bond says. Having access to all the relevant data, as Bond explained, also helps analysts see all the information in context enabling them to make informed business decisions.