Why data governance alone isn’t enough – the importance of connected data governance

by Steve Parry on 11th October 2018

There’s a lot of talk about data governance at the moment. As a result of GDPR many organisations are realising that they need to get their data in order and invest in ensuring proper data governance. At Entity Group we work with numerous clients on data governance projects. However, we encourage them to think beyond simply achieving data governance to achieving connected data governance. What do we mean by that?

When we go into organisations one of the first things we do is sit down with all the data stakeholders and talk to them about what data they hold, how they use it and what the significance of data governance is for them. What we find is that data governance means different things to different people.

Conversations about data governance often happen in siloes

If you’re in the marketing team then data governance is about making sure you can get an accurate and up to date single view of customer whilst ensuring data privacy. If your focus is on strategy then data governance is about getting the information you need to make the best decisions for the organisation. If you’re the Data Protection Officer or in the compliance team then data governance is about ensuring you’re compliant with GDPR (and, beyond that, ensuring that you’re able to demonstrate compliance). If you’re in the IT team then data governance is about ensuring data security.

Additionally, the organisation’s current context influences its view of data governance. Organisations that have experienced a data breach come at data governance from a compliance point of view. Those that have been on the receiving end of a cyber attack think of governance in security terms. And so on…

For these reasons, we often find that different silos within the organisation are thinking and talking about data governance in different ways. It’s easy to understand why this happens, but when it comes to achieving effective data governance this kind of siloed thinking isn’t going to get you there. True data governance comes when everyone in the organisation is working together and pulling in the same direction. That’s why at Entity Group we like to talk about the importance of achieving connected data governance.

Data governance isn’t just about compliance

Data governance isn’t just about one thing. It’s not just about ethics, or privacy, or security, or compliance, or accuracy. It’s about all of those things. If organisations work on data governance in silos, in an unconnected way, then they risk missing the bigger picture. Likewise, if an organisation’s focus is entirely on data governance as a way of minimising risk and ensuring compliance then it’s missing a trick. Good, connected data governance offers you so much more than simply achieving compliance. Connected data governance is about compliance and competition in equal measure. It requires a holistic approach rather than a siloed one.

Understandably, a compliance requirement is most people’s way in to data governance these days. Prior to GDPR compliance was primarily the concern of specific industries such as banking and finance. However, since GDPR it’s everyone’s concern. Consequently, we’re having many more conversations about data governance across a much wider range of industries. Whilst a compliance focused approach is often what gets a data governance project off the ground, we strongly recommend that organisations think beyond compliance when considering the benefits that connected data governance can bring.

Connected data governance goes far beyond simply achieving compliance

Data is one of your organisation’s most valuable assets. Truly connected data governance means that your organisation can make the best use possible of the data that it holds, not simply to demonstrate compliance but to make good decisions, to compete effectively and to achieve competitive advantage. Connected data governance gives you the agility you need in order to make quick decisions based on the best possible information available to you. It gives you the confidence that the data you’re using to make those decisions is accurate and up to date. It ensures that all departments in the organisation are thinking about data in the same way, so you can talk about a concept with the confidence that everyone in the organisation has a shared definition of what that concept means.

Book onto our webinar or download our white paper to find out more

All of this sounds great but, as I talked about in my last blog, is very much easier said that done. That’s why we’ve put together a series of resources to help organisations understand how best they can achieve connected data governance. Book onto our free webinar today to learn more about this, or download a copy of our Connected Data Governance white paper. If you’d like to talk more about how Entity Group can help you achieve connected data governance then get in touch.