Data management is at the crux of modern businesses. It is the information that sits at the heart of decisions that will propel a company forward, and unlocks opportunities that could otherwise be overlooked.

Yet, despite how crucial data is to ensuring growth in today’s landscape, data mismanagement remains a significant concern. Actually, it isn’t hard to see why – with the sheer volume of data being created, stored and shared on a day-to-day basis, it is easy to understand how keeping this information under control remains problematic.

But just because it’s problematic doesn’t mean companies can sweep it under the rug. Data mismanagement doesn’t only prevent organisations from leveraging information to boost their business intelligence. It also increases the likelihood of failed compliance, potentially leading to significant losses in reputation and customer loyalty.

This is where data governance comes into play.

What is data governance?

In a nutshell, data governance is how organisations take control of their data. It represents the personnel, techniques and systems they put in place to leverage the data they have available to them. This helps to guarantee corporate data that is understandable, correct, complete, trustworthy, secure and discoverable.

With an effective data governance program in place providing clear responsibilities and processes to standardise, integrate, protect and store corporate data, businesses can help ensure that:

  • Risks over data mishandling are minimised 
  • Internal rules for data use are established and observed
  • Compliance requirements are met
  • Internal and external communication is improved
  • Data becomes more valuable to their organisation
  • Costs over data management are reduced over time

The global data governance market is set to expand from $1.8 billion in 2019 to $4.8 billion by 2024, demonstrating how rapidly companies are adopting this function. Nevertheless, many organisations still aren’t aware as to what they need to consider when implementing a data governance program.

So here we’ve provided an introduction into three of the most essential aspects of data governance:

  1. An effective strategy
  2. A top-notch team
  3. Access to modern technologies

Data Governance Strategies

First, what will the approach to data governance be? There isn’t a one-size-fits-all model that all companies can subscribe to, and the approach an organisation takes will depend on several factors, including the data they have stored, their capacity for technology and overall business culture.

While there are deviations, there are three standout data governance strategies to consider:

Top Down

The top down approach is where data governance monitors and manages data around the goals, metrics and objectives of the business. This is a broad lens strategy led by the company’s key executives, making edicts the rest of the team is expected to follow.

Middle Out

The middle out approach is more focused on using data governance to support business processes and associated data to drive a business outcome. Decisions are made by one or more central resources, who consider options and then determine the best course of action.

Bottom Up

The bottom up approach considers critical data assets that have operational, compliance and analytic impacts on the business. This involves people at all levels of an organisation making data-related decisions, with the results moving up from there throughout the company.

As mentioned, there is no definitive answer that works for all parties, so it is worthwhile exploring each in greater detail to find the right one for the company’s circumstances. Plus, as the KPIs and visions for an organisation evolve over time, the strategy behind their data governance program might switch as well.

But, without a clear strategy in place to underline how data governance is applied and what information it will be responsible for, the foundation for improving business decisions and reducing risks is missing.

Data Governance Team

Next, it is key to establish who is responsible for governing the significant sums of data a company possesses. This includes who will lead this function of the company, and the people working alongside them to make sure everything is managed effectively.

Most companies will have a CIO or Chief Data Officer (CDO) helming their data governance strategy. They will oversee the entire team and ensure that critical data governance tasks remain on track on a business-wide level. They will also then communicate processes and results to other executives.

The CIO/CDO should also be supported by a range of team leaders representing other strands of the company, be it finance, marketing, HR and IT. These will help develop data governance policies and procedures, and manage the administration and adherence of these rules within their respective departments.

Alongside these leadership levels, the data governance team will ideally also contain:

Data Owners: Responsible for ensuring data quality is consistent throughout the supply chain, data meets all regulatory requirements, and data is used appropriately in accordance with established policies.

Data Stewards: Responsible for analysis of data sets, supplying this information in digestible reports for business users.

Data Users: Responsible for following company-wide policies and reporting any abnormalities spotted to the relevant data owner.

With the team in place and their specific roles and responsibilities established, a company is in a strong position to implement their data governance strategy and program, with everyone engaged and part of a shared collaborative culture.

Data Governance Technologies

Finally, once a strategy is locked in and a team is situated, they need the right resources to fulfil their data governance duties.

A company’s data intelligence platform should encompass capabilities for data governance, data quality and analytics. The level to which it must achieve that will vary depending on the organisation’s volume of data and its complexity (among other factors), but the tools applied should align with the strategy they have chosen to implement.

Alongside this, in an ideal scenario, the technology a company institutes to support data governance should:

  • Deliver clear visibility over the organisation’s data landscape
  • Encourage collaboration over visual interfaces and workflows
  • Engage with business users responsible for data governance
  • Empower users to define, track and manage data assets
  • Ensure the accuracy and reliability of data throughout the supply chain

This need for beneficial modern technologies in ensuring successful data governance is why we have invested so much into making our solution so comprehensive for those in the asset management industry. 

Fundipedia helps companies master data governance and management, whether it’s providing a single, easy-to-navigate repository for all fund data, fully customisable workflows and reporting, or a complete fund data history. Technology is vital to governing the incredible amount of data used by companies today, but only if it is capable of fulfilling an organisation’s needs.

Hopefully this concise introduction to the essential elements of a data governance program will help you maximise the effectiveness of one within your own organisation, and take complete control over the data that will drive it forward.