Effective governance also enables a company to implement and manage internal policies and standards related to the security and use of data. This not only supports a company’s response to external compliance guidelines, but also standardizes the data for use across the company. Standardized data provides the “single source of truth” needed for critical business decisions, as well as the data quality and reliability teams needed to do their jobs.
Data Management Challenges
At first glance, implementing data governance may seem obvious and simple, but managing data across a company’s teams and products introduces levels of complexity that many companies try to tackle or avoid altogether.
Bringing in the processes, policies and protections of governance requires a new mindset around people, processes and technology. “It’s not the runtime activities that convince someone not to do governance,” Syed says. “It’s all the work it takes to set up governance.”
For many, the approach to data governance is to establish policies that are controlled by individual sectors of the business, making implementation all the more difficult. “Think of all the different teams doing that in a large organization,” explains Syed. “They all have to do that dependency check, and each team also does individual development work to meet those requirements, which is a lot of duplication of effort.”
A silo data management initiative that requires each team to monitor its own data dependencies also takes time and effort away from other work. “It becomes difficult to innovate because at every step of innovation you have to check for dependencies on your governance policies,” says Syed.
Siled approaches also introduce the possibility of errors and make it more difficult to ensure that all governance policies are followed consistently in all cases. These hurdles can leave employees and stakeholders with insufficient say, negating any realized benefits of data governance.
A federated governance solution
In many companies, data is seen as an IT asset, and therefore an IT responsibility. While that may have been the case in the past, today the volume and speed of data and the innovative ways in which companies use their data means that data is the responsibility – and the driving force – for all parts of the business.
To establish an effective data management program for every part of the business, it is best to centralize the framework to reduce errors and reduce duplication of effort. “To ensure that federated teams are successful in applying data governance rules and governance, you can’t just create a policy and let each team build technology to enforce it,” says Syed. A centralized approach is less complicated to monitor, facilitates data consistency and accuracy, and is easier to make transparent, all of which aid in stakeholder buy-in. “If you have a centrally managed data platform, a centrally managed data ingestion pipeline, and a centrally managed data policy, you only make changes to [the data] in one place,” explains Syed. This ensures that data remains compliant, secure and consistent wherever it is used.