Data Governance: Definition

Data governance forms the basis for company-wide data management and makes the efficient use of trustworthy data possible. The efficient management of data is an important task that requires centralized control mechanisms.

What is Data Governance?

Data governance is a collection of components – data, roles, processes, communications, metrics, and tools – that help organizations formally manage and gain better control over data assets. As a result, organizations can best balance security with accessibility and be compliant with standards and regulations while ensuring data assets go where the business needs them most.

Outcomes for better data control lead to efficient methods, technologies, and behaviors around the proper management of data, across all levels of the organization. From the senior leadership team to daily operations, governance ensures alignment by providing structure and services.

Data governance often includes other concepts such as data stewardship and data quality. These bases help connect governance details with the data lifecycle, improving data integrity, usability, and integration. Both internal and external data flows, within an organization, fall under the jurisdiction of governance.

data governance


  • Better, more reliable data: Of course, that’s the whole point. Users and decision-makers will have more confidence in the data and consequently more confidence in the decisions based on that data. And those decisions will, indeed, be better because they are based on accurate information.
  • A single version of the truth: The benefit of having all parts of the organization and all decision-makers working from the same information is incalculable. No more time spent arguing over whose spreadsheet or plan is “better” or more up-to-date. All parts of the organization are coordinated.
  • Regulatory, legal, and industry compliance: Solid data management procedures are the key to compliance. Auditors and regulatory oversight representatives will not look at the data so much as look at how that data was generated, handled, and protected.
  • Cost reduction: Not only will audits become quick and easy, but day-to-day operations will become more efficient and effective. You can reduce waste caused by decisions made based on faulty or outdated information. You can improve customer service by knowing the accurate status of ongoing activity, inventory, and manpower availability.

Organizations thrive on accurate, consistent, and reliable data that can, by definition, only be achieved with good data governance.

Why do businesses need Data Governance?

Even though most organizations do have volumes of data stored digitally or physically, most of the data is in a non-standardized format. Further, organizations cannot always be sure of the reliability of data due to age, the source, etc. Employees or business leaders often hesitate to rely on this data for decision-making due to worries about data quality. Data governance is a process that makes an organization’s data reliable. It also makes sure that high-quality information is available across the organization. It empowers every department to make decisions based on this data. Data governance also drives the digital transformation of a business.

Types of data governance tools

Implementing your data governance program can be made much easier with the help of various technology and software tools. Here are some of the core types of data governance tools that you should consider using.

  • Data cataloging: Software that uses automated data discovery to create catalogs for better organization and standardization.
  • Data management: Collects data from multiple sources and provides a master view for data governance purposes.
  • Visualization: Consider implementing a tool that helps visualize your entire data ecosystem in a single, easy-to-use interface and report for data owners.
  • Data lineage: Trace data lineage by parsing code from data sources, applications, tools, and source code automatically.
  • Policy management: Some software automates policy enforcement and assignment of business rules to ensure full compliance with your governance program.
  • Threat detection: On the security front, you’ll want software that alerts you to potential threats, before your data gets compromised or stolen.

data governance


Data governance requires a lot of planning, decision-making, and monitoring. Clearly documenting processes for how you use data will set you up for success in using data for business decisions. When companies do not govern data correctly, security and compliance are at risk, analysis can be incorrect, and crucial IT resources are misused. Data governance is demanding because it involves teamwork, investment, and resources.

Cloud Data Governance

As more and more businesses and organizations realize the benefits of moving some or all of their data storage and processes to cloud integration strategies and iPaaS, the need for effective data governance increases at scale.

Moving to the cloud is all about delegating certain tasks to third parties, such as infrastructure management, application development, security, etc. Cloud is also about the virtualization of technical resources, which can create data sovereignty challenges—such as with regulations that mandate that data resides in a certain place or country. In addition, cloud-first strategies generally encourage decentralization, allowing lines of business or workgroups to roll out their system independently, which could result in an uncontrolled data sprawl.

That’s where governance finds its place. First, a strategic data governance plan is crucial for migrating content to the cloud. Whether an organization is moving to a hybrid or completely cloud data model, the data migration process will enjoy all the same benefits of an overall data governance plan, and the migration itself will be more efficient and secure.

Additionally, moving data processes to the cloud adds a layer of complexity regarding security and access. While a completely on-premises data solution still needs a robust data governance strategy, stakeholders especially appreciate the value of data governance when that data is moving through the cloud.


data governance


Implementing a strong data governance program ensures the security, standardization, and integrity of data within your organization. By choosing the right strategies, partners, and data security tools, you’ll be able to create a data governance program with allows to you maximize the value of your data while keeping it safe and sound.


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