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May 9, 2023

The Components of Data Governance

The Components of Data Governance

Data governance isn’t new. But it is certainly getting its time in the spotlight. And as more Chief Data Officers (CDOs) look to treat data as a product, its spotlight is only going to become brighter.

But data governance is changing. For years, data governance has focused on source-based governance. But more and more, we’re seeing organizations shift their focus to consumption-based governance. They are recognizing the need to arm consumers with the tools they need to ensure they are using data in a safe, appropriate way based on the information access policies defined by their organization and the consents of the data owners. 

This shift makes sense. More organizations are realizing that implementing a data product strategy through the design and use of data products is a way to treat data as an asset and drive greater value from it. And because data products are a consumption-ready set of high-quality, trustworthy, and accessible data that people across an organization can use to solve business challenges, it makes sense that governance is shifting to be consumption-oriented as well.

The Roles of a Data Governance Team

Data governance teams include a number of critical roles. But as governance changes, so, too, must the roles on the team. Most data governance teams today include:

  • A data admin who is responsible for leading data governance initiatives. This individual has a good understanding of both the technical and the business sides of the organization.
  • A data steward who is very knowledgeable about the business, and serves as the bridge, translating business needs into requirements that IT can implement.
  • A data custodian who is an expert in managing the storage and security of data. They also manage data usage, serving in the role of data engineer.
  • A data user, which is exactly as it sounds: an individual in the organization who uses data. This individual could be the CMO, a sales executive, a finance director, or another leader within the organization who uses data to make decisions.

In addition to these traditional roles, many organizations are adding data owners and data product managers to the team as well.

  • A data owner is responsible for determining who can access various data sets across the organization. They manage requests for access so that the data remains in compliance with information access policies set by the business.
  • A data product manager designs, builds, and manages the cross-functional development of a data platform, or a suite of specific data tools, in order to serve multiple internal and/or external data consumers.
  • Finally, many organizations assign a data architect to work on the data governance team. A data architect designs and implements the data architecture, including data models, data integration, and data warehousing.

Components of Good Data Governance

When it comes to good data governance, there are a number of components to consider.

First, good data governance includes the implementation of a comprehensive data catalog. These data catalogs make it easy for users to find important information on all the data sources within their organization.

Next, good data governance considers consumption, not just sources. By giving users the tools needed to ensure they are using their organization’s appropriately and within the boundaries set by information access policies, users can avoid getting themselves in trouble by using the wrong data.

Finally, good data governance is supported by a data product strategy. Organizations that treat data as a product, and implement a data product strategy through the design and use of data products, elevate the value of data as an asset by making it discoverable and consumable for everyone across the organization. They employ data governance practices to ensure that users are consuming data products in the right way, and in alignment with their organization’s information access policies.