Data Governance: Definition, Implementation, Best Practices

Data Governance: Definition, Implementation, Best Practices

Data governance is a solid foundation for every company’s overall data management. It is essential for every company to manage their data as well as centralize all the control mechanisms. By incorporating the data governance framework at your place of work will come in handy to help organizations manage their data properly. For you to be able to gain a proper understanding of what data governance truly is, below is a true definition of it.

1. What Is Data Governance?

Data governance comprises the people, processes, and various technologies that are required to manage and safeguard the company’s data assets. By this, they will be able to get reliable, secure, and correct data. There are a lot of areas that this program covers, for example, Metadata, data modeling, and design, data warehousing and business intelligence, data, and content, among others. Overall, the main functions of data governance are ensuring that organizations have transparent methods by which they can control, standardize, integrate, and store data. Its main goals are:

• Implement compliance requirements

• Reduce costs

• Improve internal and external communication

• Come up with internal regulations on how this data is to be used.

• It also helps initiate and facilitate the administration of all the roles above.

• It also helps minimize risks.

How best would this be if your organization decided to incorporate this into their system? A company should not miss out on these great benefits that the data governance program has to offer.

2. Data Governance Framework

Every organization that has its data management into place need to have the data governance framework that will help them with a more holistic approach in the way they collect, manage, protect, and store their data. What comprises the data governance framework?

Data Architecture

This involves the whole data structure and data-related resources as an essential part of the organizational structure.

Data Security

It will ensure that your company’s data is safe and protected. It also ensures that there is no unauthorized access to the data. This means they are login credentials and, at times, a two-step verification process to ensure that the data is safe.

Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence

Decision support meant for data reporting and analysis for some organizations can be confusing. Data governance will, however, help you manage, process, and access data support to make only but the best decisions for the organization.

Reference and Data Master

This will help reduce redundancy in organizations. It also helps good data quality by standardization of data values.

Documents and Content

As an organization, you will require a proper place to store, protect, index, and gain easy access to the data. This will help you do this all under one roof without having much hustle.

3. Why Is Data Governance So Important?

In the modern-day, most companies have incorporated this in their business departments, although most of them have necessarily not centralized it. The complete introduction of this data governance will mean a slow evolution from the open world to the formal world. Most companies implement this once they reach that point where it is hard for them to achieve and handle their cross-functional tasks efficiently. Since data governance involves a lot of combined jobs, it, therefore, has a lot of benefits to every organization that incorporates it into their system.


As an organization, becoming consistent and creating uniformity could be one of the hardest things that one can do. Data governance will help organizations, come with more rational decisions as well for consistency for data.

Increases Scalability

Data governance helps organizations increase scalability for their IT operations. It also helps them clear all the regulations for the never-ending technological world.

Central Control

Organizations can control their data from one central location. This, therefore, means that they will be able to manage the finances they use when it comes to maintaining their overall data. This also ensures that they get increased efficiency. This is because data governance offers them a platform to reuse processes and data used before for their operations.

Efficient Standardization

Organizations that incorporate this governance into their system can have clear and transparent communication. This is one of the most important things that organizations should have.

It will help companies remain active and responsive for the day to day operations. It is also very essential for them to have new and innovative ideas on how they can handle their data. With data governance, it means that your company will always have a forward motion rather than going backward as well as having overhauled structures.

4. How To Implement Data Governance

Embarking on this journey might be hard and tough. You, therefore, need to have a proper program that will ensure that you do not miss out on anything. Below are the steps you will need to follow when implementing this program.


Having the desire to initiate this program is not enough. You will need to figure out how and where to start. Mostly, this data gets started in the IT department and has one of the individuals in the IT team to run it. At times they might have a hard task managing this program. Therefore, ensure that you look for someone who will help manage this program to its completion. You might think of getting someone like a CFO or CMO to help run this program. Ensure that the person you get can manage data—especially one who looks at data as an asset but not anything technical.

All in all, whoever manages the program should be able to get something out of it. Especially the knowledge that leadership runs from top to bottom. This means that everyone is involved right from the IT department, the accounts, customer service, the supply chain, sales, and data governance.


Governance is highly done in an organization, whether you are aware of it or not. For you to be able to approximate at least the activities that involve data governance in an organization, you can look at the department you are in and what you are doing. For example, master data management. After knowing this, trying to figure out where there are any loopholes in the department you are in, you will need to have a data governance program. Just like when in analytics where you want people to answer a set of questions to asses them. By doing this to your department as well, you will be able to assess how to go about this program.


Is it necessary to have a vision when implementing a data governance program? Why should you have a vision? These are some of the questions that people ask themselves since they think that data governance does not require such. Without a vision for anything, it would be hard for you to achieve anything. You must have a vision during this implementation process. This is because communicating your vision from time to time to your team members will motivate them to work even harder. Show them how data governance will help them achieve what they want; for example, when it comes to creating spreadsheets, they can work on utilizing a shared drive so that they can consolidate their data asset. By this, they will be able to join the dots and note how that one spreadsheet is not only helping but the company as well. It is good to let them know that they are an essential part of the data governance program.

Align Business And Value

The goal for most organizations is to make profit. Therefore, with this kind of perspective, you must, first of all, ensure that you align all data alignment efforts that may be happening in your company. This will ensure that you do not go off track. Also, document any changes that you may have, the performance metrics for each department, and data governance so that in the future, you will be able to check the rates of your efforts. For example, you can come up with an align activity summary table. On this table have a row for objective, purpose, inputs, tasks, techniques, tools, and outputs. Then under each row, give an explanation or outline of everything that will be involved in this data governance program.

Functional Design

This is so far the essential step that you should not forego. Here you will need to look at the functions and processes, not just the team of people you will be working with. These functions need to be already in place before any deployment can be made. The team will be responsible for ensuring that everything is in place before you can deploy this governance program. Once you are sure that the functional design for this program is in order, it is now time for you to check if it resonates with the management. If something is missing, ensure that you deploy it from the top or else your data governance program will fail terribly.

Governing Framework Design

After being transparent with the functional design, it is time to combine the technical design to the team now. Watch how they will handle themselves, check whether the data governance program will work successfully with the way they will manage their operations. This should be before the initiation of the program. For example, you might think that since one of the team members is best in the IT department, then they will be good at solving IT functions. You might be right or wrong; this is why it is essential to ensure that you establish this first and take note of every specific role that an individual will excel in. Only after doing this will you be able to tell if the program will excel or not. Also, you will be able to assign roles according to how you rated their performance.

Make A Blueprint

The blueprint should include the various requirements, resources, and groundwork that will help you maintain your program. Have steps that you will follow, for example, integrate the program with other data efforts, design the metrics and reporting requirements, design the management plan, among other things.

Roll Out And Sustain

It is not time to kick start and roll out everything you have been working for all this while. The program team should work hand in hand to ensure that they meet the expectations. Ensure that you manage the non-governed assets to the governed holdings so that the unit can be able to internalize everything fully. The data governance framework plan should thoroughly be gone through to ensure that nothing is missing so that everything will be useful. You need to ensure that this program is sustaining. The data governance framework itself is not sustaining at all; therefore, there will need to adapt and change. The more sustainable you make it, the better and efficient this program will be to making you succeed.

5. Data Governance Best Practices

While data governance remains key to most companies, it is not all times their practices yield the required results. It might be challenging to some, but to overcome this, there are various things that you should do. Below are some of the best practices that you should focus on to get these best results.

Think Big But Start Small

The data governance framework involves people, processes, technology, and much more. This is why you must plan and execute the plan efficiently. Remember to start small before advancing to the later stages. For example, start with the people, get to know the processes then finish this off with technology. As you go step by step, you will note that each component is reliant on the other. Each level will give you a revelation into something even more significant. Without the right team for this job, it would be hard for your program to succeed.

Similarly, technology without the holding pillars would not stand. Start by getting the right team, get through the process, and then finish by getting the right technology that will oversee the completion of the program. You will have overcome most of the challenges.

Create A Business Case

Buy-in is essential, however, it is not the only important thing. This is because it might not be able to hold your efforts up to success. Ensure that you identify the various benefits that will come with the implementation of this program. Show the virtual improvements that will come about as a result of this program. Some of these benefits you would like to note down are, increased revenue and quality data management. But this can only be identified if you take note of the loopholes. After doing this successfully, you will be able to tell the various benefits you will get.


Measuring progress is very important. This will help motivate you and your team since you have something that will show you are at least making progress. Note the date you started, how you started, and how you ended. Keep recording for every step you make. They will not only serve the purpose of showing progress but the checkpoints and the markers as well. This will ensure that the program is going on well and efficiently. You may have everything adequately planned on paper, but it may not match what will happen on the field. Metrics will help you take care of any loopholes with bringing in any inconveniences.


This is key to everything. It does not matter what level your team members are, ensure that you maintain constant contact. The central importance of this is showing the impact of the program as well as ensuring that nothing goes wrong.

Make It A Practice

Technology keeps changing every day. This should not be just a project to you but a method. This means that with every change in technology, you will be able to handle the situation all over again without having to go over some steps like creating a team. The main difference between a practice and a project is that a project has a start and end date, but with a method, there are no end dates at all. It is a culture that the organization needs to adapt to. So, do not aim at just starting and completing the project, focus on making it a cultural practice that will be followed by many generations to come even after you perhaps leave that organization. You will not only have achieved your organization’s goals for the data governance program but also the long term goals that this company could have for the future.

Data governance is essential for every organization. Every organization must take this as a long-term practice for the company. It has a lot of benefits that come along with it that will be helpful to the organization. Adopting data governance framework into the company’s system will help much more than mere data management would do since the sensitivity of the company’s data is highly crucial and needs to be safeguarded by all means. What best way could one do this if not by ensuring that you incorporate the data governance into your system?

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