Data Governance Program

Implementing a Data Governance Program

Data Governance Benefits

There are two popular approaches to implementing a Data Governance Program:

  • Standard Approach
  • Passive Approach

Let's look at these in more detail.

Data Governance Program Standard Approach

The Standard approach is used by organizations that want to establish a full Data Governance Program. A summary of the steps to implement include the following:

  • Review the existing system – reuse what already exists, fill gaps, etc.  
  • Build a Data Governance Charter and assign roles
  • Create written policies and procedures 
  • Train users 
  • Track compliance and refresh training as needed

Data Governance Program Passive Approach

Designed for smaller organizations, especially start-ups who may have limited resources or time to develop a full data governance program.

  • No major changes, just fill policy gaps
  • No new titles / roles
  • Formalize existing policies and procedures
  • Review existing documentation 
  • Ensure written policies are easy to find and read 
  • Add regularly scheduled data governance meetings 
  • Lay a foundation and slowly build on it 
  • Start with one area, for example, dashboards and reports, instead of taking on too much initially

Maintaining a Data Governance Program

Remember, data governance is not a one-time project but an ongoing program and should be monitored and adjusted as needed to ensure it is effective and being followed by all members.

You didn't invest all that time and effort into it, to end up right back where you were. It is also important to keep on top of any new government regulations relevant to your region, your customers’ locations, and/or industry that could impact your policies.

Let’s discuss some things that will help maintain your Data Governance Program.

Data Governance Council Meeting Cadence

Having a regular Data Governance Council meeting cadence is vitally important. Make everyone part of it to ensure healthy data habits. As part of your meeting's agenda be sure to cover the following:

  • Discuss if goals are being met
  • Any issues that need to be addressed
  • Status of duplicates or other data quality issues.
  • How is user adoption
  • Any change in priorities
  • Document how the council communicates changes and to whom and define priorities.

Maintaining a Healthy Data Ecosystem

Now that you have invested resources and time into implementing an effective Data Governance Program, it must be maintained to ensure it continues to be effective. Here are some things to keep in mind. 

Measure the Effectiveness of Your Data Governance Program

  • Periodically measure critical data points to ensure compliance
  • Are expected metrics being met?
  • Run routine data quality health reviews to ensure data quality remains high

Document Policies

Be sure to create detailed documentation of your data governance program, ensuring that any documentation is:

  • Accessible and easy to digest for new users.
  • Clearly defines any roles, responsibilities, and processes.
  • Updated as needed including keeping up with changing regulations

On-Boarding New Systems

When onboarding a new system (Sales, marketing, ERP, etc.) be sure to apply your data governance standards and policies. Some things to look for include:

  • Are third-party vendors adhering to your standards, especially regarding protecting any of the data they may be handling?

Off Boarding (Retiring) Old Systems

When retiring a system, be sure you have the proper steps in place to ensure any data that was part of that system is being handled per your data governance policies, including:

  • Is your IT staff ensuring any data used in the older system is properly migrated and removed from its former database?
  • If ending a third-party vendor relationship, how are they ensuring your data is handled or deleted properly?

Read the full QWARE Data Governance Best Practices White Paper here: