Data Governance Benefits: 4 Ways It Helps Build Great Data Teams

November 17th, 2022

Around 2016, the modern data stack went mainstream. This refers to a collection of technologies, tools, and capabilities that help businesses today store, manage, and use their data. These tools are unified by three key ideas:

  • Self-service data analytics
  • “Agile” data management
  • Cloud-first and cloud-native

Even though the modern data stack has made it easier to ingest and transform data, governance has become one of the biggest barriers in the path of true data democratization.

Here, let us explore the importance and benefits of having a robust data governance program in your organization.

Table of contents:

  1. What is data governance?
  2. Why does data governance matter?
  3. How does data governance benefit organizations?
  4. 4 key benefits of data governance
  5. How to implement effective data governance?
  6. Bottom line
  7. Related reads on data governance benefits

What is data governance?

Before diving deeper into the benefits of data governance, let’s have a quick refresher on the concept:

According to Gartner:

Data governance is the specification of decision rights and an accountability framework to ensure the appropriate behavior in the valuation, creation, consumption, and control of data and analytics.”

Here’s a simpler way to understand: Data governance is simply about deciding how to decide. It’s a set of policies, processes, and standards to collect, manage, and store data for better decision-making.

Read more about what is data governance and why is it important?

Why does data governance matter?

Why is data governance necessary? Because it ensures that we act in the best interest of everyone.

Be it regions, countries, businesses, or data - in its essence governance ensures that equitable solutions are met for everyone, and everyone’s rights are upheld. This is what most of us forget because conventionally data governance comes with the baggage of being seen as strict rules that are dealt top-down with a heavy hand. Something that inherently pronounces control and not a privilege.

Data governance needs to go through a renaissance, it needs a paradigm shift at multiple levels.

Paradigm Shift in Data Governance

Image by Atlan

Here’s a great blog that talks about how changing the narrative around data governance will help answer the why(s) of data governance much better, and will get seamless buy-in from everyone in the organization.

Fundamentally, data governance ensures effective collaboration and data democratization.

How does data governance benefit organizations?

Data governance ensures the proper and prompt usage of data throughout an organization. Here are some examples of how:

  • Setting standards for data quality — accuracy, consistency, timeliness, and completeness of data assets.
  • Setting data access control policies and a program for recurrent monitoring of quality, security, and privacy checks.
  • Helping reduce the risk of major disruptions exposing data.
  • Defining data retention and data deletion policies.
  • Enables data assets to be auditable across the entire lifecycle and therefore be in compliance with data protection laws and regulations.
  • Improves consistency and confidence in risk assessment and business decision-making and thereby maximizing the ROI of your data assets.

Organizations working with copious amounts of data understand that data governance is no longer good to have, it’s a must-have. But are they really maximizing the true potential of data governance? The real benefits of data governance can truly be unlocked once you understand the genesis of data governance, and what it’s really meant to do.

Compiling 4 key benefits of data governance

  • Enables true data democratization
  • Builds effective collaboration between teams
  • Protects the integrity and relevance of data
  • Helps comply with data protection laws and regulations

Effective implementation of data governance will have countless positive impacts on data quality, data analytics, data reports, and data-related decision-making as well.

Let’s understand each one of them in detail, and how they help data teams work better together:

Benefit #1 — Enables true data democratization

Everyone has a right to data that will help them make better decisions. Data governance ensures that you can uphold that right, without compromising on data security. With the right modern data governance platforms, you can create granular and customized tag-based access policies. Examples of tags include business-related metadata, technical metadata, or even security classifications. Such a system also ensures being transparent about how decisions are taken regarding which team member has access to certain data and who doesn’t.

Data Governance Benefits #1 - Data democratization

Example of implementing tag-based access policies. Image by Atlan

Benefit #2 — Builds effective collaboration between teams

Having a clear understanding of who should have access to data and who shouldn’t, also reduces the friction between diverse data practitioners existing in the same or different teams. For e.g. A person looking at a restricted data asset knows who owns it, and can quickly request access with the click of a button. Also, if a particular data is publicly discoverable, no matter if it’s in a different domain, a data user doesn’t need to wait for days for IT to give them access to that data or for domain experts to relay what that data actually means.

Data Governance Benefits #2 — Social colloboration between data teams

Managing users is easy for Data Stewards, via, group, actions, or even personas. Image by Atlan

Benefit #3 — Protects the integrity and relevance of data

For data to be the bedrock of impactful decisions it must be relevant, accurate, trustworthy, easy to use, and have high quality. Data governance ensures that by employing the following:

Data Governance Benefits #3 — Data integrity

Automate lineage via SQL parsing. Image by Atlan

Benefit #4 — Helps comply with data protection laws and regulations

Last but not the least, the reason why most organizations start thinking about data governance - is to comply with data protection laws and regulations. Even a minor infringement of GDPR or CCPA regulations can cost an organization a fortune. Good data governance tools and processes ensure automated compliance with such regulations and laws. They create universal guidance for the structured creation, storage, and deletion of data.

Bottom line

The benefits of data governance are endless if implemented well. With the rate at which data consumption and usage are exploding around us, organizations will benefit from having data governance at the heart of their data management principles and not as an afterthought or as a part of the checklist.

Ready to make data governance effortless?

Try Atlan — Deploy best-in-class, catalog, metadata management, and data governance without compromising on data democratization.

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