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Data Governance: The Art of Good Data

Written by Dwight Brown

May 26, 2021

Data Governance: The Art of Good Data

Data governance.  Some think of it as the Ambien of the Analytics world.  Guaranteed to put most people to sleep.  Let’s face it— data governance is seldom fun. It’s not sexy, it’s not a bright shiny thing, and there’s seldom an adrenaline rush.  But it is OH SO necessary in Analytics.  It is the backbone of Analytics.  Without it, the body would crumble into a heap on the floor.  Simply put: it’s the difference between good data and bad data.  And we all know having no data is better than having bad data.

So what is it?  The Data Governance Institute defines it as “a system of decision rights and accountabilities for information-related processes, executed according to agreed-upon models which describe who can take what actions with what information, and when, under what circumstances, using what methods.”  More simply put, “Data Governance is the exercise of decision-making and authority for data-related matters.”

Data governance has many facets.  Among the most important are:

  • Data definitions
  • Data formatting
  • Defining “source of truth”
  • Defining how certain data can be used
  • Defining who can use it
  • Data rules such as policies, standards, business rules, etc.

Key to data governance are strong Champions within the business.  These are the people out in front of the organization gaining buy-in for the elements listed above.  Also key are the Analysts behind the scenes slogging through data tables, definitions, use cases, etc.  They find and serve up the information the Champions need.  Both are thankless jobs and take special passionate people to execute.  Never has a parent ever heard their child say, “When I grow up I want to be a Data Governance Analyst!”  But make no mistake….. these folks are the unsung heroes of the Analytics world.  Without them our data would be bad and meaningless.  We’d be out of jobs and our companies would implode as the dearth of good data sucks all the Oxygen out of our competitive advantage.

So raise a glass and give a heartfelt toast to those who keep our data safe and clean!!

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about the author
Dwight has more than 23 years of experience starting with a Bachelors in Spanish and a Masters in International Management from the University of St. Thomas.
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