Data governance is the overall management of the availability, usability, integrity, and security of data used 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.

For most organizations, a single data warehouse is not a reality. Big data sources, increasing complexities, operational intelligence, and information diversity creates an environment that requires a consistent and thorough data management strategy. Added complexities mean more moving parts and a requirement to understand the intricacies of each data process flow.

In the world of information governance, organizations have believed that they were “information companies” and in “the information business.” Banks and even corporations like Federal Express emphasize the importance of information. That, in fact, “information” runs their business.

The problem many organizations face in this time of great interest in content governance, is clarity and consistency – both of which are not always achieved with boxed governance.

Many business intelligence and analytics projects focus on a limited data set within the organization. And many project stakeholders believe that governance within the framework of analytics is enough. The reality, however, is that data governance should encompass all data assets across the organization to create a cohesive view of information and provide a way to manage inconsistencies and potential data quality issues as they arise.

The initial step in implementing a data governance framework involves defining the owners or custodians of the data assets in the enterprise. This role is called data stewardship. Processes must then be defined to effectively cover how the data will be stored, archived, backed up, and protected from mishaps, theft, or attacks. A set of standards and procedures must be developed that defines how the data is to be used by authorized personnel. And one of the most important steps is putting in place a set of controls and audit procedures that ensures ongoing compliance  with internal data policies and external government regulation. This should guarantee the data is used in a consistent manner across multiple enterprise applications.

The interest in information governance and content governance is long overdue. With information now the nervous system of most organizations, we applaud today’s companies embracing what their predecessors pioneered decades ago.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.