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A Data Governance Framework is a Must for Today’s Modern Organization

Jessica Gershman

Data and Analytics Director, Forum One

A data governance framework refers to the process of building a model for managing enterprise-level data. The framework or system sets the guidelines and rules of engagement for business and management activities, especially those that deal with or result in the creation and manipulation of data.

Data Governance. You have probably heard the phrase mentioned before; perhaps from your IT or senior leadership teams who were just reading about the latest security breach in the news. But what does it actually mean when it is applied to governing your own organization’s data?

As a key element of a modern approach to digital strategy, data governance is necessary to ensure that all forms of data are efficiently managed and that you are able to take a data-informed decision-making approach to how you operate.

Creating a data governance framework

In order to define the elements of a data governance framework that works for you and your organization’s unique needs, the following six action items will get you started.

  1. Assess: The most important first step towards building a data governance framework is to do a deep review of your existing data so that you know what data assets you have and can begin to understand what policies and procedures you might need to apply to different datasets. For example, you may be concerned with the personal data you’re collecting on your audiences who visit your website in order to be compliant with GDPR regulations.
  2. Define: Maintaining a data catalog that contains definitions of what your different datasets include and how they are intended to be used is critical to ensure consistency across your organization. You want to make sure that when new members join your team, they can understand where all of your data is stored, why you need that data, and how to use it properly.
  3. Document: Be sure to clearly document the expectations, processes, and tools you expect people to use to validate and monitor the relevant datasets upon which your organization relies. By clearly documenting and disseminating this information within your organization, you can help everyone stay on the same page as they work with your data. 
  4. Delegate: Defining roles for your data stewards across the organization, while also assigning ownership and accountability for the key sources and processes within your data ecosystem, help bolster buy-in and compliance with the processes that allow you to govern your data.
  5. Secure: As an important asset to your organization, instituting additional methods of data security whenever necessary to safeguard your data from misuse or exposure is critical to establishing your organization as one that your stakeholders can trust.
  6. Audit: In order to make sure your data governance framework is working for your organization, you should begin performing regular audits of the effectiveness of your framework in order to quickly mitigate challenges.

By taking a serious look at all six of these items, you’ll have the key elements and information required to begin to build out both data governances priorities and framework. And once you’re ready to put a framework in place, you’ll be in a much more comfortable and secure position to make truly data-informed decisions that support the growth of your organization and impact of your mission.

Looking to build your data governance framework?

Let’s talk. Forum One’s data and analytics experts work with enterprise-level missions to manage, analyze and develop data strategies that strengthen the way organizations use and store data. Get in touch today!

Written By

Jessica Gershman

Data and Analytics Director, Forum One