What is a Data Governance Framework and Why do you Need it?

Published on
Data governance framework

In today's digital landscape, data has become the most valuable asset an organisation can possess. But, as company data estates wrack up, teams often struggle to find a structured approach to managing their data.

That’s where a data governance comes in. Data governance is crucial for any organisation handling large amounts of data. But research shows that just one in ten companies have a solid data governance strategy across their whole organisation. What’s worse, experts predict that 80 per cent of organisations looking to scale their digital business will fail by 2025 due to not having a solid data governance strategy in place. 

But what makes up a solid data governance framework? In this article, we’ll take a look at the key components of a governance framework and why it is critical for businesses in the age of big data. 

What is a data governance framework?

A data governance framework is a set of guidelines, processes, and practices that ensure the proper management of a company’s data.

It provides a framework for making informed decisions about data while also ensuring that information is used consistently and effectively and stored securely across an organisation 

The main focus of a data governance framework is to establish guidelines that ensure the quality and security of a company’s data assets. These guidelines often determine how data is acquired, stored processed and stored. 

Imagine it as a meticulously designed roadmap that guides every data-related decision and action, from the moment data is generated to its eventual archiving or disposal.

What makes up a data governance framework?

First things first, data governance is not data management. Data management is the operational aspect of collecting, storing, processing, and using data to meet business needs. 

Data governance, meanwhile, sets the strategic direction and guidelines for data management, focusing on policies, standards, compliance, and overall data stewardship. 

A comprehensive data governance framework constitutes establishing clear accountability, roles, and responsibilities for data-related activities across the organisation.

The common components of any data governance framework include:

  1. Defining a data Strategy aligned with the organisation's goals, mission, and vision. This involves establishing the strategic value of different types of data and outlining objectives for data collection, storage, processing, and usage.
  2. Developing and enforcing policies, guidelines, and standards that dictate how data should be handled, stored, secured, and shared. These policies ensure consistency and compliance across an organisation. 

  3. Assigning ownership and stewardship roles to individuals or teams responsible for specific datasets. Data stewards ensure data quality, accuracy, and integrity, and facilitate collaboration between departments.

  4. Implementing measures to protect data from unauthorised access, breaches, and cyber threats. This ensures compliance with data privacy regulations and establishes protocols for data encryption, access controls, and data masking.

  5. Defining data quality metrics and processes for monitoring, measuring, and maintaining data accuracy, consistency, completeness, and reliability. Implementing procedures for data cleansing, validation, and enrichment. 

  6. Establishing guidelines for granting and managing data access based on roles and responsibilities. This ensures that authorised users have appropriate access to data while preventing unauthorised use.

  7. Ensuring compliance with data protection regulations such as GDPR, HIPAA, CCPA, and industry-specific standards. 

  8. Defining KPIs and metrics to measure the effectiveness of data governance efforts. Regularly reporting on data quality, compliance, and other relevant metrics to stakeholders is key. 

Why is a data governance framework important? 

Data governance acts as the backbone of effective data management. The main objective of a data governance framework is to standardise data definitions throughout an organisation. Other goals depend on the focus of a particular data strategy. Here are just some of the reasons why organisations need solid a data governance framework:

  • Data Quality and Integrity – Inaccurate or inconsistent data can lead to faulty analyses and flawed decision-making. Data governance ensures that data is accurate, consistent, and reliable, enabling organizations to make informed choices and derive meaningful insights.
  • Risk Mitigation – In an age of cyber threats and data breaches, robust data governance establishes security protocols, access controls, and encryption measures to protect sensitive information. This mitigates the risk of unauthorized access, data leaks, and potential legal and financial consequences.
  • Regulatory Compliance – Data privacy regulations like GDPR, HIPAA, and CCPA have stringent requirements for data handling and protection. Data governance ensures that organizations adhere to these regulations, avoiding hefty fines and reputational damage while building trust with customers and stakeholders.
  • Operational Efficiency – A well-structured data governance framework streamlines data processes by reducing redundancy, improving data retrieval, and minimising errors. This efficiency translates into time and cost savings, enhancing overall productivity.
  • Data Collaboration and Sharing – In a collaborative business environment, data governance establishes clear guidelines for data sharing and collaboration between departments, preventing data silos and fostering cross-functional teamwork.
  • Long-Term Data Management – Data governance includes data lifecycle management, which dictates how data is created, used, stored, and eventually retired. This ensures that data is managed efficiently and responsibly throughout its entire lifecycle.
  • Organisational Alignment – Data governance promotes alignment between data practices and business goals. By clearly defining data objectives and strategies, organizations can ensure that data initiatives are in line with their mission and vision.

A well-implement governance framework lays the foundation for effective data management, ensuring data quality, security, and compliance while empowering organizations to harness the full potential of their data assets. 

As data continues to shape business landscapes, companies that invest in a comprehensive data governance framework are better positioned to navigate the challenges and opportunities of the headwinds ahead.

Join 34,209 IT professionals who already have a head start

Network with the biggest names in IT and gain instant access to all of our exclusive content for free.

Get Started Now