What is Data Governance?

Data governance enables an organization to ensure data quality and security during collection, storage and use of data assets. A strong data governance strategy can enable your organization to maintain the integrity of your data through more secure data practices.


What is data governance?

Data governance refers to the effective collection, analysis and application of data within a business. Let’s break that down:

Effective collection: Effective data collection would mean you have a process in place to securely capture the data and consent from your customers to be collecting it in the first place.

Effective analysis: Effective analysis means you have a secure space to analyse your data and your analysts are equipped with the tools necessary to gain the most insight from your datasets.

Effective application: Effective application means you’re using the data to create value for your business such as improving customer experience or refining your marketing strategy.


Data governance is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Successful data governance relies on each of these aspects working in alignment with a clear understanding of the goals the organization has set regarding your data assets.

Let’s look at an example of data governance in relation to a specific industry such as financial services.


Data governance in banking

Financial service companies have a particular need for governance due to the sensitive nature of the data they hold. They must consider some unique factors when planning and implementing their data governance strategy.

Regulations. While all companies have to comply with various data regulations, think GDPR, the banking industry has even more regulations to keep tabs on. A strong data governance initiative is becoming essential to regulatory compliance.

Risk. Yes, all companies that manage data inherently take on a certain level of risk, but the risk of breach for a bank is arguably more detrimental than for say, a manufacturer due to the sensitive nature of the information they hold. With greater risk comes greater need for a comprehensive data governance strategy.


Along with the additional complications of their industry, financial services also can enjoy unique opportunities when data governance is done right.

Better security: More data available to be analyzed provides the potential for more accurate identification of customers across devices.

Next best offer: With better visibility into your customers’ data, you’re better able to offer the next product or service they’re most likely to be interested in.


What is data governance strategy

A data governance strategy is a formalised plan across an organisation related to data governance. Without a strategy, it is difficult for data governance processes to be implemented and adhered to.

Aligning your organisation with a data governance strategy helps guide team members and departments on the do’s and don’ts of data usage within the company. It also lays the foundations for data usage – often data is siloed or locked away because there are not documented processes or permissions across the business. A data governance strategy can unlock data internally and externally for a business, now able to gain new insights from datasets.

Things to consider in the data governance strategy include:

  • People and responsibilities
  • Data policies and consent
  • Data cleanliness and accessibility
  • User access and permissions
  • Tools and technologies used for analysis
  • Processes for managing breaches or misuse

Building a data governance strategy should be an ongoing process that is across departments and functions. It will morph and change overtime as the needs and data within the business changes.


Data governance for your industry

Whether you’re in banking, retail, travel, hospitality, media or any other industry, data governance should not be overlooked. In all industries, it’s important to focus on data as a valuable asset that needs to be governed appropriately.

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