What is Data Governance?

WhatIs.com has a good definition of Data Governance. They state it as:

“Data governance (DG) refers to the overall management of the availability, usability, integrity, and security of the data employed in an enterprise. A sound data governance program includes a governing body or council, a defined set of procedures, and a plan to execute those procedures.

The initial step in the implementation of a data governance program involves defining the owners or custodians of the data assets in the enterprise. A policy must be developed that specifies who is accountable for various portions or aspects of the data, including its accuracy, accessibility, consistency, completeness, and updating. Processes must be defined concerning how the data is to be stored, archived, backed up, and protected from mishaps, theft, or attack. A set of standards and procedures must be developed that defines how the data is to be used by authorized personnel. Finally, a set of controls and audit procedures must be put into place that ensures ongoing compliance with government regulations.”

I tend to be a bit more pragmatic, so my definition would be something along the lines of this:

“Data Governance is the practice of putting controls and best practices around an organizations data. Data Governance must be proactive and reactive.

The proactive Data Governance approach includes involving best practices applied to when new data elements are introduced, new projects that may affect data initiated, and projects are born out of the Data Governance office itself to pro-actively review data.

Reactive Data Governance comes into play when data problems are found, new laws and regulations are introduced such as Sarbanes-Oxley or Basel II, or new initiatives such as SOA (service oriented architecture) are introduced in an organization.”

“Best Practices” is the magic term in the definition, what exactly does that mean? Where are these best practices coming from? With Data Governance in its infancy, these best practices are still being developed, refined, and tested. My blog aims to put what has worked for me out into the industry… my best practices, if you will.

The first definition provided above starts to go into these best practices, such as defining stewards and the first steps in forming data governance. This isn’t a true definition of the Data Governance concept, more of a suggested implementation plan.

  1. August 23rd, 2009 at 15:11 | #1

    do you have contact information. Looking to discuss the possibility of a consulting opportunity around data governance with you. I will appreciate a reply even if not

    warm regards

  2. October 8th, 2009 at 12:54 | #2

    One of the Product Managers at the software company where I work recently wrote a great blog post outlining Data Governance and some strategies for it. I’m not sure what you’re looking for, exactly, but our solution might be a good fit towards what your DG strategy. You can see his post at http://stealthbits.com/newsroom/stealthbits-official-blog.html.

    All very best,

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