Governing Your Data: How to Start Designing a Governance Program

Author: Wavicle Data Solutions

Do you know how your business is managing and governing its data? If not, it’s certainly time to consider taking a closer look at your data governance needs. As organizations of all types continue navigating today’s evolving digital landscape, they must prioritize strategies to protect their data while ensuring appropriate access.


But where do you begin when creating an effective governance program for your organization’s data? Once you have established the critical factors of what data will be governed and who will do the governing, it’s time to start laying out a plan for how your data will be governed.


Define and analyze your data processes

The data governance process starts with defining your organization’s data governance work products for each data domain. You should have a clear scope of the governance needs and existing workflows for each type of data that is included in the data governance program.


Then, analyze the current state of the work products as they stand. Even companies that do not have any formal data governance programs in existence have informal procedures for how they input, manage, access, and protect their existing data. Examples of domain-level work products include data lineage documents, policies and procedures documents, common business definitions, and data quality and compliance metrics and dashboards.


This effort enables you to take inventory and identify what is working effectively, which the team can continue to leverage, and what is not working well. It will be a formative point in the creation of your data governance program to help your data governance workgroup pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of the existing processes, scope necessary improvements, and prioritize high-impact changes.


All of your organization’s different data systems and workflows need to be reviewed. This includes:

  • Data architecture
  • Data modeling and design
  • Data storage and operations
  • Data integration and interoperability
  • Data security
  • Documents and content
  • Data quality
  • Metadata
  • Data warehousing and business intelligence
  • Master and reference data



Next, the team will need to start building specific capabilities that will help the organization address its current pain points and meet its data governance goals. This exercise also ensures that the team is focused on high-priority work products and processes. Typically, the three highest priority capabilities are impact analysis, common business definitions, and policies and standards; however, your business may have its own specific needs.


Guide: Getting Started with Data Governance

Get started with data governance

While these start-up procedures can feel as though they take up valuable time as you start up your data governance program, they are critical for designing and deploying a program that best fits your organization’s unique data assets.


Learn more about how to get started with data governance by downloading Wavicle’s guide or contact our team to consult with an expert.