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How To Set Up A Data Governance Structure For Business

There is a lot of jargon out there. But if there is one concept you need to know, it is data governance. Data governance helps organisations make sense of data. Done well, it can turn chaotic and potentially confusing data into an asset – and a productive one at that. But what is data governance? And how can your organisation set up a data governance structure?

Core Questions About Data Governance

  • What data do we own?
  • What is the source of our data?
  • How can data be used?
  • Who is responsible for data?
  • Can it be trusted?

Stripped back, data governance is about ensuring that practices and processes are in place so that your organisations data assets are managed in a safe and reliable manner. It revolves around five core questions:

Seems simple enough, right?

Think again. Exploring such questions can often throw up complex problems with elusive answers. Data environments can feel like an overwhelming challenge to understand. Our advice? Begin by focusing on your critical data and a plan to understand and improve it. This will allow objectives to be achieved quicker and provide staff with the breathing room to train and adapt.  

How To Set Up A Data Governance Structure For Business

With this in mind, these six steps will enable your organisation to establish a data governance structure, both speedily and systematically.

  1. Establish roles and remits

The first – and fundamental – step is to determine who does what. Consider: who creates data? Approves it? Uses it? Who owns the processes? Who is really responsible?

This is crucial as it establishes the bare bones of a data governance structure and facilitates future collaboration – without treading on each other’s toes.

  1. Define data domains

Ascertain the elements of the data you use, as well as the different types and values associated with this. Not only can you then allocate stewardship but identify extra stakeholders who should be involved.

  1. Create data workflows

Data is like a supply chain. Once there is a solid awareness of the data held by your organisation, you can begin to prioritise it. Think about what data is really important? Why are you using it? Is it valuable?

  1. Establish data controls

Much of this surround building the necessary controls and processes to optimise your data’s quality and soundness. It is the core of data governance.

Defining the salient controls, metrics and data thresholds is key here. Report processes on what data is used and feedback mechanisms to flag up – and eventually resolve – data issues are also paramount.

  1. Prioritise data sources

With objectives and data control processes, an organisation must then determine which data sources take precedence over others. Question which sources are truly authoritative? Are they reliable?

  1. Implement policy

The final step is to establish policies and standards across your organisation. What you have explored previously should serve as a framework. Do not forget to communicate this to all staff and ensure they are on board.

Data governance is essential to achieve organisational intelligence. Start small, be contemplative and turn that data into a gold mine.

Get yourself and your team up to scratch with data governance training from the best in the business. The i4DM team is here to support your learning journey, wherever you may need to begin. Contact us to discuss your data education needs.

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