The Top Five Capabilities of a Data Governance Tool

Apr 04, 2021 |
Thomas Brence

Moving to a data driven culture can be challenging

In recent years, more and more organizations are turning to data to help them make better, more informed decisions. This pursuit to become more data-driven has long been a goal from executive boards down through the C-suite and into individual teams. But, reaching the holy grail is not so easy. In a new survey from NewVantage Partners featured in the Harvard Business Review, it seems more organizations lost ground last year than gained, as less than a quarter of all organizations now identify as being data-driven. If making a data-driven business transformation is the end goal for so many, then why isn’t it going very well?

The challenge of moving to a data-driven culture

One answer is getting to be a truly data-driven organization requires a culture shift. For those of us covering the data governance space for years, this is no surprise. Asking people to care about data is difficult when their only experiences to date have been fraught with inconsistencies and inaccuracies – not to mention the data itself often being generally inaccessible. Approaching data governance as part of the solution only adds insult to injury for many if it’s approached from a place of compliance and control. This is why more and more organizations are approaching the cultural shift that is data governance from a place of collaboration. Rather than applying red tape, they are instead approaching the same goal of being data-driven from a point of empowerment.

Data governance as a business enabler

By focusing on how an enterprise data governance program can enable rather than disrupt, you can shift the emphasis from policies and processes to business value. Once teams can look to the data governance program as a source for answers – a place to fulfill their data needs – they begin to trust the efforts.

Top 5 data governance tool capabilities

Technology can scale data governance by helping more business leaders gain access to reliable data to make better decisions. When looking for a modern data governance tool to support your data governance framework and enable your pursuit of being data-driven, consider these five capabilities:

  • Data catalog – Knowing where all your data lives is more than half of the battle. If everyone knew where to find the right information, we’d all be well on our way to being data-driven. Having a data catalog as a capability of your data governance tool provides more than just knowledge of where your data is stored. It also provides context through metadata management, so you can make sense of the data you’ve discovered. You can even understand how data flows through your organization with a detailed data lineage, so that your team can understand impact.
  • Data stewardship – To visualize that impact, consider a data governance tool that features capabilities around data stewardship. You’ll want your team to be able to understand policies and processes. They’ll need to know the stakeholders to work effectively with the data governance council or data governance committee. They’ll need to understand the data by tying the technical metadata with the business context. And, perhaps most important of all, they’ll need a place to feel like they can trust the data.
  • Data quality – If a pillar of being a data-driven organization is that your team can trust the data, then there may be no more valuable capability than an integrated data quality solution. By being able to visualize if the data is high-quality, your team will know the information being used to facilitate team’s decisions – and fueling their initiatives – is accurate.
  • Data privacy – Knowing the quality of data is one thing. Knowing it’s data that my team can and should have access to is a whole extra level. With the rise of data privacy regulations, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it’s more important than ever that teams understand the risks and responsibilities that come with the data they’re requesting.
  • Data democratization – The last capability essential to a modern data governance tool is actually providing access to the information. Once your team has provided a foundation of governed data, you’ll need to empower your internal data consumers to access the data. An integrated data marketplace, for example, ensures that anyone who wants to be data-driven, and has the proper access, can find the information they need quickly and easily.

As stated by NewVantage Partners in the Harvard Business Review, “Companies must reexamine they ways that they think about data as a business asset of their organizations. Data flows like a river through any organization. It must be managed from capture and production through its consumption and utilization at many points along the way.”

Investing in a modern data governance tool will help ensure that your organization becomes more data-driven by ensuring data can be found, understood, protected – and ultimately trusted.

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