Developing best practices for data governance is far from an easy task. Trust us on this – we are working on it now. As groups within the Data Governance Professionals Organization (DGPO) have met to tackle the beast of data governance standards in a variety of focus areas, we have found the phrase “it depends” rears its head all too often. Practitioners from across a wide variety of industries with years of data experience tucked under their belts have shared many fantastic ideas and examples of successful data governance practices only to realize that the same efforts may fail miserably in other businesses. The factors of success (and failure) for data governance are numerous, and can change as companies evolve over time. Yet, even with all of the variance in style and execution, there are still many data governance “must dos” that our working groups have established for successful data governance.
When it comes to the focus area of “the organization,” there a couple of non-negotiable requirements for data governance to thrive. The first is to define the key functions and expectations of data governance. These functions define the responsibilities of the data governance program. At a minimum, these functions should include stewardship, policies and standards, change management, and compliance and metrics. When developing a data governance program, it is critical to define the expected functions. The building of the data governance teams and all future governance activities will be based on these core functions.
The second requirement is the establishment of oversight bodies to ensure the integrity of the defined data governance functions and to optimize efficiency. In some companies, a single oversight body such as a data governance steering committee or council will provide more than enough supervision of efforts. However, in larger companies or businesses subject to heavy regulation, additional oversight bodies may be necessary. When multiple oversight bodies are needed, they are established in a hierarchal fashion such that there is still only one overarching governing body.
Governance oversight bodies should represent all functional areas of the company including business and technical, but their size should remain relatively small. Members of the councils or committees often represent multiple business areas/functions. The purpose of the oversight bodies are to establish a governance framework and make high-level data decisions to support the strategic business goals in the context of the defined core governance functions.
Once the business has defined the expected functions of data governance and determined a core oversight committee, then it can move on to the tactical operations of governance, which include data management and stewardship.
No two data governance organizations look or operate in the same fashion. It is important that your data governance program is developed based on the needs of your business, no one else’s. The business needs will inform the expected governance functions, which will in turn define the framework and the people you need to execute things successfully.
If you want more detail on data governance roles and responsibilities, check out the DGPO website. In the meantime, we will keep sharing our practical points and best practices from the field here at TDAN.com. We are honored to be a part of this newsletter as it is always full of great information and valuable resources. Please feel free to share the core functions of your data governance organization here too. Remember, we are a special breed of people sharing a CRAZY passion for data governance – we are all in this together!