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Benefits of Data Governance

To build an impactful data governance approach, it’s time to think bigger than “just” compliance

As enterprises move forward in a world where the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is firmly in place, the need to cement data governance in day-to-day operations has never been more clear. Certainly, the regulatory mandate has been critical in informing enterprises about the importance of this oft-neglected practice.

State of Data Governance

In our 2020 State of Data Governance and Automation report, 67 percent of respondents said they had deployed data preparation, data governance or data intelligence solutions. That’s about 20 points higher than what was reported in this September 2017 First San Francisco Partners (FSFP) study, conducted less than a year before the GDPR deadline.

But even as the adoption rate of data governance initiatives is growing, their maturity is still lagging. When comparing our 2020 report to the 2018 version, the maturity of data governance programs appears to have regressed, with only 12 percent of respondents for this year’s report declaring they are fully implemented as compared to 31 percent in 2018. Also concerning: 38 percent of current survey participants say their data governance programs are a work in progress and 31 percent are just getting started as compared to 42 percent and 21 percent in the prior survey.

A compliance-first (or compliance-only) mindset can encourage companies to do the bare minimum to meet regulatory mandates, which can ultimately pigeonhole data governance initiatives. To do so would leave many other important benefits of data governance on the table.

Why Is Data Governance Important?

Of course, compliance is and will always be an important facet of data governance. As the starting point for many enterprises’ data governance initiatives, we appreciate the role GDPR played in making the practice more prominent. But it’s time to think bigger.

A truly comprehensive approach to data governance will help ensure your organization’s data assets are serving the needs of both data keepers (IT) and data users (business analysts). It is a collaborative, strategic and ongoing practice that allows you to uncover and track data, understand it within the correct context(s), and maximize its security, quality and value. If you’re considering a data governance initiative, then you can’t ignore these other important drivers:

Better Decision-Making

One of the key benefits of data governance is better decision-making. This applies to both the decision-making process, as well as the decisions themselves. Well-governed data is more discoverable, making it easier for the relevant parties to find useful insights. It also means decisions will be based on the right data, ensuring greater accuracy and trust.

Improved Data Understanding and Lineage

Data governance is about understanding what your data is and where it is stored. When implemented well, data governance provides a comprehensive view of all data assets. It also provides greater accountability. By assigning permissions, it is far easier to determine who’s responsible for specific data.

Operational Efficiency

Good data is incredibly valuable in the age of data-driven business. Therefore, it should be treated as the asset it is. Consider a manufacturing business’ physical assets, for example. Well-run manufacturing businesses ensure their production-line machinery undergoes regular inspections, maintenance and upgrades so the line operates smoothly with limited down-time. The same approach should apply to data.

Greater Data Quality

As data governance aids in discoverability, businesses with effective data governance programs also benefit from improved data quality. Although technically two separate initiatives, some of their goals overlap. These include, but are not limited to, the standardization of data and its consistency. One way to clearly differentiate the two programs is to consider the questions posed by each field. Data quality wants to know how useful and complete data is, whereas data governance wants to know where the data is and who is responsible for it. Data governance improves data quality, because answering the latter makes it easier to tackle the former.

Increased Revenue

Driving revenue should, in fact, be higher on the benefit list. However, it’s positioned here because the aforementioned benefits cumulatively influence it. All the benefits of data governance addressed above help businesses make better, faster decisions with more certainty. It means that less costly errors – in the form of false starts and even data breaches – are made. It means that you spend less money by managing risk, and closing the most vulnerable holes in your business’ security, instead of more money retrospectively, dealing with PR and financial fallout.

Unlock the Full Benefits of Data Governance

As you can see, the benefits of data governance are numerous and stretch way beyond compliance. But too few enterprises are maximizing the opportunities it provides.

If you’re ready to ensure your initiative is as impactful as possible, then we encourage you to learn more about our data governance solutions, erwin Data Catalog and erwin Data Literacy, as part of the erwin Data Intelligence Suite.

See for yourself why erwin is the data governance company. We’ve been recognized by Gartner, IDC and industry publications for our innovations, particularly in metadata management that’s foundational to mature and sustainable data governance.

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