Recently, we discussed the importance of data swamp prevention. One of the foundational techniques for doing so was the implementation of strong data governance. Data and information are now the lifeblood of organizations, allowing them to make key decisions, observe demographics, and improve workflows in every sector of production. Therefore, the collection, management, and security of this data should remain a top priority for the modern enterprise for current and future goals.
The challenge presented by Big Data is just that: size. Vast swaths of information are collected from numerous nodes. Deciphering what’s useful or “junk” is just one of many tasks proper data governance must manage. Data privacy and its protection are also necessary characteristics of governance, not only to protect enterprise assets but to maintain regulatory compliance and avoid financial penalties.
What goes into modern, strategic data governance?
Data governance maintains the integrity of your information and, ideally, drives better business models. Without it, inconsistencies and problems creep into branches of a network, potentially never finding resolution, and cascading into a series of further issues. It interferes with business intelligence and analytics. Overall, you want solid data governance.
We touched on this briefly before, but it’s worth repeating. Starting with comprehensive data governance is to establish responsibilities.
Chief Data Officer
At the top is the CDO, the chief data officer. Not all governance programs will have one, typically decided by the size of the business. CDOs shoulder a major responsibility, experienced senior members managing everything from acquiring capital and designating other positions in the data governance workflow stack. Their job is to analyze and monitor progress for all data governance strategies, and the “go-to” for long-term projections.
Manager leads execute data governance operations and are responsible for carrying out tasks associated with the overall governance strategies. They oversee and work with teams, everything from training and internal communications. It’s a role similar to the CDO. Not all organizations have (or need) a CDO, so a management lead is an essential head of overall operations.
While the responsibility of execution goes to CDOs and management leads/teams, the actual decisions for what will be done are normally the responsibility of data governance committees. These are comprised of executives, enterprise owners, and data owners.
The committee will approve decisions and policies regarding governance, ranging from data access and dispute resolution.
Data stewards assure that each phase of data governance is up to standards of quality assurance. It’s comprised of engineers and architects who have an in-depth understanding of how the overall governance strategies work (or should work). They manage the data set involved with governance and assures each new step or implementation follows procedure.
Establishing these roles and team members is but one key part of a powerful data governance strategy. Now, the bigger question is, what is the data governance policy?
What makes up data governance?
Like ingredients to a dish, data governance is comprised of several characteristics: rules, processes, policies, and the implemented technology to carry out governance policy. It incorporates a mission goal and statement, a sort of modus operandi that is the guiding philosophy behind all other decisions related to governance.
It can also include details regarding software and automation tools used and how they’ll be used.
Develop a complete data picture
The initial step towards any comprehensive data governance policy and strategy is to understand where your enterprise is. You need to observe and analyze specific categories within your enterprise to see how your data works.
People – Who can access data, who manages it, where it goes, and who makes decisions based on data.
Technology – What type of technology is used to store, access, and house data? What services are used, and do you rely on remote services/networks?
As you develop this picture, you can better understand how to utilize the governance policies and how to develop the governance plan in the first place.
When you create a reliable image of your data picture, the implementation of governing strategies will be easier.
Using third-party assistance
Even with the best intentions, some enterprises like SMBs will find it challenging to fill certain roles or create dedicated teams for their data governance strategies. Not every role needs a team of experts, but it helps. Building this team (or teams) is sometimes beyond the resources and capabilities of the organization, but third parties such as MSPs are readily available to help.
An MSP can fill the roles you’re lacking, or, provide the technology and scaling resources to manage your data flow.
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