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What is data governance?

Data governance is the process of managing the quality, security, availability, and usability of data across an organization. It involves defining policies, roles, responsibilities, and standards for data collection, storage, analysis, and sharing. Data governance also ensures that data is aligned with business objectives and complies with the relevant regulations and ethical principles.

Data governance also helps organizations manage data as an asset, which means recognizing the value and potential of data for achieving strategic goals and creating competitive advantages. By managing data as an asset, organizations can optimize the use and reuse of data across different domains and functions, and leverage data for innovation and differentiation. Data governance also enables organizations to measure and monitor the return on investment (ROI) of data and ensure that data assets are properly maintained and protected throughout their lifecycle.

There are many definitions of data governance. A definition that encapsulates it well is this:

“Data governance is the organization and implementation of policies, procedures, structure, roles, and responsibilities which outline and enforce rules of engagement, decision rights, and accountabilities for the effective management of information assets.”

Source: John Ladley, Data Governance: How to Design, Deploy and Sustain an Effective Data Governance Program, 2020.