The Path to Data Governance: What Data Will Be Governed?

Author: Wavicle Data Solutions

Data governance is a critical part of every company’s operations. Business and technical leaders alike must be dedicated to creating and evangelizing the policies, standards, and processes that ensure data is handled responsibly as part of their data governance program. Doing so can drive efficiencies, reduce data headaches, and protect businesses from the many risks associated with poor data management. 


As you get started on the path to successful data governance, it’s important to define what types of data should be governed — and why — in order to start building your program.


Selecting the right data domains

At the heart of a successful data governance program lies the alignment between people, processes, and technologies. These three factors work together to ensure that your governance program is effective and that your organization can get the maximum value from its data. When starting on this journey, one of the first steps should be establishing what areas or ‘data domains’ you will cover. That means identifying the domains or categories of data that need to be governed – which may include reference data, transaction data, and master data – as well as the stakeholders who will provide data stewardship for each domain.


When launching a governance program, consider beginning with an internal process domain such as finance for a targeted approach, especially if it has pressing value or urgent need. It’s important not to take on too much at once to start by tackling a large number of domains at once. Prioritizing and setting the right foundational approach for your data governance program will pay off long-term.


Guide: Getting Started with Data Governance


Understanding the current state of your data

Once you have identified and established the appropriate domains and stakeholders, it’s critical to set a baseline for the current state of your data in those domains and dig into the ways stakeholders are using or want to use that data.


Conduct interviews with stakeholders across all relevant business and IT functions. This will help you pinpoint and analyze your company’s existing data governance pain points. This is the time to learn about obstacles that stand in the way of achieving business objectives and to start defining what successful data governance will look like for your organization.


The typical types of questions to ask include:

  • What are your top concerns/issues with the data you use today?
  • Is there any confusion about what terms mean and how they are calculated?
  • Are there specific challenges to accessing information? Do you understand where to obtain the data you require to perform your job?
  • Are there any concerns about people having access to data they shouldn’t?
  • How much historical information do you need to complete tasks? Is data archived and/or deleted when it is no longer needed?
  • Are you able to easily provide root cause analysis if there is a security breach?


Developing a thorough understanding of the current data problems and needs for your data governance program will help you design a framework that fits your organization and set your new governance program up for success.


Taking the next step 

What happens after you’ve established the scope of your data governance program? It’s time to start considering who will govern the data and how.


It isn’t easy to set up a data governance program from scratch, but it’s critical for any business concerned about the quality and security of the data they hold. Learn more about how to kickstart your data governance program by downloading Wavicle’s Guide to Getting Started with Data Governance or contact us to talk to an expert.