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Over the last few years, we have seen many digital transformations happening throughout different organisations, with the use of cloud migrations, generative AI and other influential technologies taking over. With all this in mind and all of these serving different purposes towards data, everything needs to be governed to make sure that the data is clean and secured.

What is Data Governance though? Why do we need it and how do we go about this?

Data Governance is everything an organisation does to ensure data is secure, accurate, available, and usable. This involves establishing different processes, policies, and standards to make sure that data is in line with the objectives of a business and is in line with their regulatory requirements. This can be set across areas such as Data Privacy, Data Quality, Data Management, Data Stewardship and Compliance. Implementing all these areas will help to make data-driven decisions, reduce any risks, and earn trust from customers and clients that their data is in good hands.

It’s important to dissect the key areas above, as depending on the scale of your organisation you will have multiple employees working on key areas however in start-ups/scale-ups, you could see several employees taking on various roles and working across the whole lifecycle of Data Governance.

Data Quality Management involves several different elements including Data Profiling, Data Validation, Data Cleaning and Reporting. Having this in place ensures that the data is accurate, complete, and relevant. Maintaining high-quality data ensures that an organisation can make well-informed data-driven decisions whilst gaining reliable insights. This also leads to reduced areas in all departments and creates further revenue opportunities. If this area of the Data Governance lifecycle is neglected this can lead to inaccurate decision-making, which then further down the line can result in wasted resources and missed business opportunities. Furthermore, this can put a business at a loss.

Data Stewardship is classed as the accountability and responsibility for data and its processes. A Data Steward can be responsible for the policies, and data usage and can also control the quality of the data. With these responsibilities in hand, this role will usually sit in between the business and technical stakeholders as decisions have to be made that can affect not only the strategy but other elements such as Data Modelling, Data Analysis and Data Warehousing. Data Stewards can be classed as experts when it comes to the quality and trust of data and can be seen by many organisations as a valuable asset when it comes to managing the data better, especially if one has a ton of it!

Data Privacy and Compliance is a crucial aspects to consider for any organisation. For companies that are handling a huge amount of personal and company data, this is something that needs to be handled carefully and correctly. Without having this in place, can lead to a lack of trust, and laws and regulations being broken which can then also segment yourself to being an unethical data practice. To keep equipped with all the relevant information and new legal requirements, it’s important to regularly check the policies that are in place, so everyone understands the correct data management practices, regular audits, and training with colleagues to make sure they are aware of how to be compliant in their role.

Lastly, we come to Data Management which is the practice of managing an organisation’s data so this can be analysed for well-informed decision-making across all departments. Key components can include Master Data or Meta Data Management and various technologies can be used such as Atacama, Collibra and Informatica.

From all these key areas, it can be seen that they are all connected, and all have similar benefits if carried out correctly, that can be beneficial for an organisation. Without all this place, it can lead to a lot of uncertainty within an organisation and a lot of risk.

As we saw over the last couple of years, there have been numerous discussions around Data Governance and Generative AI. With this being a fast-evolving technology that numerous organisations are now using, it’s important that all grounds are covered, and risks are mitigated, especially with how companies want to move quickly with GenAI. This new technology can enhance a business and create new opportunities and with this taken into consideration, it’s an organisation’s responsibility to be ethical with their approach, have mature data governance capabilities and comply with the regulations and policies that are in place.

In conclusion, not only will a healthy Data Governance lifecycle support an organisation, no matter the size, but it will also create a data-centric culture showcasing to the wider team how important data should be, creating a collaborative culture which can then lead to an improved employee engagement and brand reputation.

About the Author

Natalia Kurasinski

Talent Partner

Natalia is a highly skilled talent partner. With a passion for identifying top talent and a strong commitment to customer service, she has established herself as a valuable resource to both clients and candidates in the data & analytics industry.

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