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Data Governance: A Pillar for Using Your Data

Data Governance: A Pillar for Using Your Data

Data is a key asset to reach new levels of competitiveness. In the Big Data era, it is a pillar to improve sales and marketing processes and overall performance, not to mention, a legitimate decision making tool. The use of data and its challenges around quality, security, management, and supervisory bodies, etc. creates new organizational needs, and making data governance a key issue for any company.

Data governance, what is it ? ​

Definition of Data governance

The term Data governance refers to all organizations, procedures and tools implemented within a company to govern the processing and management of data. From the collection of data and its preparation to its final use, data governance aims to set up processes to manage data sustainably throughout its life cycle, with the goal of extracting strategic lessons.

Data governance should be distinguished from simple data management. Beyond the daily management of this key resource for your company, Data governance tries to produce a framework to use by maximizing the data’s value. To achieve this, it acts on 4 major pillars :


  • Structuring of roles and formalization of associated responsibilities (Data Owner, Data Steward, Data Custodian, etc.) ;
  • Organization within the company (Who is responsible? What are the contact points?) ;
  • Teaching and understanding of issues involved with the valuation of data ;
  • Sharing of knowledge and democratizing the use of data.


  • Formalization of the Data governance operating model (Who is part of the body? When and how often does it meet? What are its responsibilities and its level of autonomy?) ;
  • Standardization of practices and the implementation of data management rules and procedures.

Tech and tools

  • Implementation of tools for processing, sharing, monitoring quality, etc.. ;
  • Control and securing access to data for the whole organization – data architecture and integration ;
  • Development of technical platforms guaranteeing confidentiality, compliance and security.

Support and follow-up

  • Formalization of centralized knowledge shared across the company (glossary) ;
  • Technical support for Data users and consumers ;
  • Definition of key indicators and performance measurements.
Generally managed by one person in a cross-functional position – Chief Data (or Digital) Officer – data governance concerns all departments (marketing, sales, legal, IT…). Whether data consumers (market understanding, performance measurements, decision making, etc.) or data creators, your employee’s involvement is crucial to achieve reliable governance and create value.

Data governance challenges ​

Data governance allows you to define the main principles which must govern the management of your data, but also ensure that they are applied. It is a strict framework that operates at different levels.

Overall company performance 

First, data is an aid to anticipate and make strategic decisions. As such, it is a real guide for your company’s decision makers and a strategic tool which has a direct impact on business performance.


Data Quality

Remember, non-qualitative data presents a real risk for your company.  It can lead to flawed analyses, irrelevant decision making, lack of responsiveness to your competitors actions, among others. To counter this bias and meet the needs of your internal or external customers, a systematic and automated Data Quality process must be implemented.


Risk management

Data has become a sensitive resource which must be secured in IT infrastructures. Appropriate rules and processes must be formalized.


Build a reference

Master Data Management aims to classify and store reference data in a data warehouse, essential for the company’s activity (customer information, products, resources, etc.). Once built, this reference is critical, particularly for matching processes.


Legal compliance

Subject to an increasingly strict regulatory framework for data, establishing  rules and procedures is inevitable. Collecting, processing, storing, sharing, and securing are just a few steps in the process. Each step of the data journey must be managed by processes in compliance with current standards, and in particular, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) for personal data.


Optimisation of IT infrastructures

The centralization of data within the organization is one of the fundamental issues of data governance. Today, information systems aim to provide better access for businesses through a global and secured infrastructure and in compliance with regulations.

Data governance impacts your company at different levels – strategic, operational and tactical – which makes it as complex as it is fundamental. Do you need assistance for the consideration and implementation of your governance ?

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