The 7 Key Components for Data Governance Success

Jordan Anderson   •   12.06.2018

The cloud has enabled organizations to easily collect and store more data than ever. As we harness these new capabilities, the risk of inaccurate, misunderstood, or poor-quality datasets creeping into organizational analytics increases as the volume, velocity, and variety of data swell.

Organizations cannot be successful in leveraging their data unless
they understand the data they collect.

A successful data governance program establishes a productive relationship between business decision-makers and data professionals. How effectively organizations create and evolve a data governance program is directly correlated to the business value that is extracted from organizational data.


1. Understand that data governance is not only a technology solution

Organizations cannot simply implement a tool to manage organizational data without aligning business decision-makers with the data professionals that serve them. The responsibility of implementing a data governance program shouldn’t fall on the shoulders of technologists. While technology can help in the execution and management of a data governance program, governance isn’t a technology-first solution.

2. Gain leadership and executive sponsorship

A data governance program impacts how organizations leverage data to make decisions. It is important that leadership is aligned. A data governance program must be visible to, and understood by, leadership.

3. Data governance is a practice, not a project

Data governance must evolve as the business changes. Successful governance programs establish long-term goals, stay engaged, and mirror business processes.

4. Justify the program, budget

Address areas of pain and opportunity.  
Review these common issues and determine the questions to be addressed across your business:

  • Numbers aren’t trusted
  • Significant manual labor required to generate reports
  • Informational gaps, gut-based decisions
  • Data silos, duplication of reporting efforts
  • Executive-level reporting effectiveness and accuracy
  • Security and compliance risk
  • Desire for predictive capabilities

5. Communicate well

For the business to effectively utilize the power of a data governance program, they must understand the purpose and value. Make sure that the data governance team communicates with business users about best practices, advertises success stories, and establishes channels for questions and feedback.

6. Manage your metadata, make it accessible

A key component to data governance is metadata – data about the data. Metadata should answer questions like:

  • What does this data element mean?
  • Where does it originate?
  • How is it related to other data?
  • Who owns this data?  Where can I go for questions?
  • What does this measure mean?  How is it calculated?

The exercise of answering these questions is highly valuable to the business as it improves the understanding and accuracy of reporting and analytics.

7. Measure and monetize

Assess and understand the strategic value of data assets for improving decision-making capabilities and organizational performance. Likewise, measure the value of data that could be shared with or sold to partners to improve performance and/or directly contribute to revenue.

Data governance establishes the foundation for accurate reporting, advanced analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. It’s crucial that organizations assess their data governance maturity and make a plan to establish a data governance program that drives data-driven decisions and moves the business forward.

Talavant enables your business strategy to align with technological solutions that focus and drive data governance efforts. If you would like to find out more about establishing or implementing a best-practice data governance program, please reach out – let’s get in touch to have a conversation: jordan.anderson@talavant.com.

Read more about Talavant as a “business first, data second” strategic business intelligence partner here.


Jordan Anderson

Sr. Manager of Consulting Services

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