What is Data Governance? Why is it So Important for Organizations?

What is Data Governance? Why is it So Important for Organizations? | Data Science and Analytics | Emeritus

Data has emerged as a critical resource to help businesses become profitable. However, the same information can cost a company millions in case of security breaches. The average cost of a breach in 2022 is $4.35 million. One of the core principles that can help companies mitigate cybersecurity risks is monitoring. It facilitates effective management and analysis, improves security, enhances capabilities, and reduces cost. That is why companies spend considerable time framing governance policies. Let us understand what is data governance, its benefits, and its principles.

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What is Data Governance?

The management of information collected by companies is a cumbersome task, especially when the data is unstructured. A lot of time and money is spent to effectively manage, store, and analyze numbers so that they can generate value. Poor management not only makes the company lose out on revenue opportunities but also makes it vulnerable to breaches. This makes it crucial for organizations to properly store, manage, control, and share data. This task of efficiently dealing with large volumes to extract valuable information is called data governance.

Data governance is an umbrella term that includes various policies, regulations, and processes to secure information, make it available across cross-functional teams, and enhance its quality. In simple terms, governance can be understood as strategic policies that facilitate efficient management and security. As a result, it allows businesses to make data-driven decisions to boost revenue.

Why is Data Governance Important?

With high volumes comes security risk and the liability of managing the information. Not only do businesses incur losses due to breach incidents, but the economy as a whole suffers. Moreover, if the personal information collected by an organization gets leaked due to insufficient security measures, even individuals get exposed to privacy threats. Governance essentially serves three purposes:

  1. It ensures security as organizations can conduct regular audits. This also allows companies to gain the trust of customers.
  2. It facilitates data accuracy as it is stored in a structured manner with the use of various technological tools.
  3. It reduces costs for companies by ensuring timely and automated compliance.

What are the Benefits of Data Governance?

  • Improved quality
  • Better data-driven decisions
  • Boost operational efficiency
  • Making information accessible to all members of the organization

Who is Responsible for Data Governance?

Organizations hire professionals with relevant skills and experience to take responsibility for data governance. This includes:

  • Chief data officer
  • Data governance committee
  • Data governance manager
  • Chief financial officer

What is Data Governance Framework and its Principles?

A framework is a set of essential principles that help organizations form policies. According to the Data Governance Institute, the following are the core principles:

  • Integrity: Integrity refers to the maintenance and accuracy of data across all platforms on a system
  • Transparency: This involves making processes transparent so that all members of an organization are aware of and can participate in decision-making processes
  • Accountability: Accountability refers to taking appropriate technical and organizational measures to ensure the protection
  • Standardization: This ensures making information uniform by arranging it in a common format
  • Auditability: It refers to arranging relevant documents to follow regulatory compliances

Who Needs Data Governance?

Every organization that uses big data and collects personal information has a need for such monitoring. Small organizations often underestimate the importance of governance. What they should remember is that all businesses that collect and analyze numbers need governance to improve quality, automate processes, figure out data-driven solutions, and achieve specific business goals.

What Data Governance is NOT?

It is Not Just Management

Unfortunately, it is often restricted to the measures taken to protect or control information and used synonymously with management. However, data governance is a broader concept that helps companies enhance quality, adhere to legal compliances, reduce operational costs, and increase organizational efficiency. 

It is Not a One-Time Process

Data governance is the continuous implementation of data principles and frameworks to achieve specific goals.

It is Not an IT Project

Also, this is not a project but a practice. It needs to be followed by all stakeholders involved and not just IT professionals. All members of an organization must adhere to these policies and principles.

What are the Popular Data Governance Tools?

It involves policies, compliances, and processes to manage data and its usage. Companies use various tools or software to discover and manage data, carry out visualization and automation processes, and implement governance. Some of the widely-used data governance tools are:

  • Alation: A cataloging tool where all sources can be arranged in one place
  • Collibra: An automation tool that helps organizations perform operations smoothly
  • Informatica: A platform that provides compliance services and keeps track of migration
  • SAP: A management software that facilitates seamless integration across various teams
  • Cloudera: A governance tool that helps with discovery, audit, and management

What are the Challenges of Data Governance?

The need for governance in organizations is constantly rising. Even though it offers several benefits, companies encounter several challenges to implement a framework. These are:

Lack of Leadership

The lack of a streamlined organizational structure and leadership policies is one of the biggest threats to governance. Companies that do not have data governance officers or other professionals often face problems in framing and implementing policies because of a lack of relevant information and expertise.

Inadequate Investment

One of the major challenges that make it difficult for organizations to implement frameworks is a lack of investment and planning. Purchasing governance tools, hiring professionals, framing policies, conducting research, and doing frequent audits require a high budget. While large organizations are able to set aside funds for governance, it is often difficult for small organizations to invest a huge sum.

Vast Amounts of Unstructured Data

Another significant challenge is the huge amounts of unstructured information. Companies are collecting vast amounts of data every second. Creating frameworks and processes to convert such large amounts of data, processing it, and analyzing it is difficult for organizations. Thus, many organizations fail to implement data governance principles.

Upgrade Your Data Skills Today!

Owing to the growing use of data, the demand for data governance officers is at an all-time high. That makes it necessary to learn the latest skills in data sciences and analytics to become a data governance officer. Having learned what is data governance, if a career in this field is what you are hoping for, explore the courses on data science and analytics on Emeritus, and upgrade your skill sets and knowledge.

By Sneha Chugh

Write to us at content@emeritus.org 

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About the Author

Content Marketing Manager, Emeritus Blog
Manasa is the content ninja that every brand needs. Apart from being an expert in tech-related trends and digital marketing, she has found her calling in edtech. Her 10-year-long tryst with education started with a teaching fellowship for underprivileged children, followed by a stint as an edupreneur. It gave her the perspective she now uses to create impactful content for Emeritus. Manasa loves the life of a digital nomad that allows her to travel and hopes her reels go viral on the Gram.
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