What is Data Governance, and why is it Important to your Business?

importance of data governance

In 2017 the need for companies to manage their data securely and effectively, is more important than ever. New data protection regulations in the form of the GDPR carry harsh penalties for companies who are careless with their data, with fines ranging from 4% of turnover to 20 million euros (whichever is greater). In addition to this companies who fail to harness and learn from the data at their disposal, are also leaving valuable business insights untapped and potential revenue streams unexplored.

In our latest article we take a closer look at the nature of data governance and its potential importance to your business.

What is Data Governance?

Data governance is not a new concept by any means, in fact it may be one of those buzz phrases that you’ve heard used so often and in so many different contexts, that you have never stopped to think about precisely what it means in theory and what it entails in practice.

Essentially, data governance is a strategy for ensuring that the data belonging to a particular organisation is accurate, available and secure.

In an enterprise organisation, IT, data stakeholders and the compliance department are best placed to implement and manage data governance, but the C-suite may also want to be involved to varying degrees. In some instances, it may be prudent to employ an individual specifically tasked with managing data governance, a position generally referred to as a ‘Data Governance Officer’.

The ultimate goal of data governance is to optimise the management, quality and integrity of data in order to provide reliable data-sets to inform management decisions and to improve the performance of the company as a whole.

The Importance of Data Governance

Data governance provides businesses with consistent, trustworthy and actionable data. As more companies rely on the data at their disposal to make crucial business decisions, this process takes on paramount importance.

Some of the aspects data governance can help to optimise include:

Data Security

Your data is one of the most valuable assets available to your organization. Careless use of that data can result in severe financial and/or reputational damage, particularly with the advent of the GDPR. Data governance can help to safeguard data against internal and external threats by defining processes for accessing and sharing your company data.

Data Sharing

Data governance can also help to make the process of sharing data safer, easier and more efficient. With a data governance plan your data will be stored, filed and indexed systematically, making it easier to locate and share data when necessary.

Data Analytics

All growing businesses have to deal with and manage large quantities of data, which are constantly expanding. This data is an asset, but can only be used as such if managed and analysed properly. Businesses that lack comprehensive data governance processes find it virtually impossible to analyse data at their disposal to make effective management level decisions.

Decision making

Data governance ensures the quality and integrity of your data. With this at your disposal, your business can make high level, executive decisions in confidence; without it you are forced to make decisions based on low quality or inconsistent data, undermining the fidelity of your decisions, and reducing the chances of achieving your desired business results.

Effective data governance is an ongoing process. Data governance by nature, is never ‘finished’ and continuing policy definitions, audits and compliance reviews are required to ensure you remain compliant with the latest regulations and abreast of the latest data uses and sources.

 

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