How a data governance framework improves data management

Key essentials why organisations need a data governance framework

In the IT industry, it is well-known that data is more precious than oil. Yet, despite the immense value of data, many organisations do not make full use of their data. There are several reasons behind this – lack of initiative from executives is one example. But, one of the core problems I have discovered is the lack of a comprehensive data governance framework. With this framework in place, organisations address all aspects of their data management, ranging from their practices to technologies in use. In this blog post, we are going to take a look at the key essentials of a data governance framework and why organisations need to have one.

The value of a data governance framework

A data governance framework is a must-have for every organisation because it helps manage the growing volume of data. Data utilisation is growing at an exponential rate with organisations collecting petabytes of data daily. However, without a framework to collect, integrate, clean and analyse data, it is impossible to manage the growing volume of data and derive meaning from it. Data is immensely valuable, but like coal or oil, it cannot be used in its raw state, it needs to be cleaned and refined before it can be useful. However, without a framework in place, making full use of data becomes impossible to do regularly.

A data governance framework allows organisations to make a direct connection between data and KPIs or corporate drivers. The best way for organisations to generate the most value from their data is to tie it to company fortunes. That way, organisations can objectively measure progress on long-term and short-term goals. To tie data to an organisation’s fortunes, there needs to be a direct connection between data and corporate drivers. However, finding the connection can be very challenging without a data governance framework. An appropriate framework allows organisations to make direct correlations between data and corporate drivers like operational efficiency, profitability and costs.

As the public becomes more and more aware of data usage, there will be pressures to be more responsible and transparent in data usage. The first signs of data governance from government institutions can be found in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the US and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU. In the future, I fully expect governments to keep a closer eye on how corporations use data. With a growing focus on data regulation, a data governance framework can be instrumental in ensuring that the organisation is complying with data laws.

The key elements of a framework

In setting up a data governance framework, organisations will need to reexamine everything from their policies to their attitudes towards data.

Categories for the data governance framework include but are not limited to corporate drivers, principles of using data, objectives behind data, groups for new data governance programs, methods for data usage, processes behind data usage, management structures, data management technologies and data governance methods.
A data governance framework entails a holistic shift for the organisation, which means several stakeholders need to work together. Executives and IT professionals in the organisation must cooperate to define the rules that will govern the use of data in applications. The two sides must define the use and management of data from data models, databases and even individual technology (for example, computers and laptops). They must also address processes and day-to-day use, especially for creating and using data. The key parties must also consider how the rules should be implemented so that rules do not hinder data creation and analysis.

How to get started

Building a data governance framework might seem like an impossible task, but organisations can take solace from the fact that these frameworks are not built from scratch. Most organisations, be it big or small, already have some sort of framework for their data. In most cases, the organisation only needs to adjust practices at certain steps or upgrade their existing technology. One such technology is the hosting environment. The right hosting environment is a tremendous asset in setting a data governance framework because it makes data management more efficient. Some organisations can even host their data on a cloud-based environment, physical servers or a combination of both.

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