Data Governance Committee: Roles, Composition, & When Do You Form it?
Last Updated on: May 17th, 2023, Published on: May 17th, 2023
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A data governance committee is also known as a data governance council or data steering committee. It is a group of individuals within an organization who are responsible for overseeing and guiding the data governance strategy and policy.
This group is typically cross-functional, meaning it comprises members from different departments within the organization, such as IT, legal, operations, and business units.
On that note, let’s take a more in-depth look at what a data governance committee does.
Table of contents
- Role of a data governance committee
- Composition of a data governance committee
- Best time to form a data governance committee
- Where to learn more about forming a data governance committee?
- Bringing it all together
- Related reads
Understanding the role of a data governance committee
- Establishing and enforcing policies
- Strategic planning
- Risk management
- Communication and advocacy
- Oversight of data roles and responsibilities
- Review and improvement
Let us look into each of their roles in brief:
1. Establishing and enforcing policies
The committee is responsible for creating and implementing the organization’s data governance policies. This includes defining standards for data quality, classification, security, and usage, and ensuring that these standards are met across the organization.
2. Strategic planning
The committee plays a vital role in aligning the data governance strategy with the organization’s overall business objectives. This may involve developing a roadmap for data governance initiatives, prioritizing data-related projects, and defining key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure success.
The committee serves as the main decision-making body for data governance issues. This includes resolving disputes over data ownership, addressing data quality issues, and making decisions on data-related investments and initiatives.
4. Risk management
The committee is responsible for identifying and mitigating data-related risks. This includes ensuring compliance with data protection laws and regulations and managing data security risks. Besides, they also look into potential threats to data quality or integrity.
5. Communication and advocacy
The committee plays a crucial role in promoting data governance across the organization. This includes communicating the importance of data governance to all staff, advocating for data governance initiatives, and fostering a data-driven culture within the organization.
6. Oversight of data roles and responsibilities
The committee oversees the roles and responsibilities related to data governance, such as data stewards and data owners. They ensure that these roles are clearly defined and that individuals in these roles are performing their duties effectively.
7. Review and improvement
The committee should periodically review the data governance program to assess its effectiveness, identify areas for improvement, and make necessary changes to the data governance policies and procedures.
In terms of composition, the data governance committee should ideally include senior leaders from different business units to ensure all-around participation. This may include representatives from IT, legal, compliance, operations, and various business units.
Having said that, the exact composition of the committee will depend on your organization’s size, structure, and data governance needs.
The composition of a data governance committee
A data governance committee is typically composed of senior representatives from various departments or business units within an organization. The idea is to have a cross-functional team that can provide diverse perspectives and ensure that all aspects of data governance are effectively addressed. Here is a common structure for a data governance committee:
- Executive sponsor
- Committee chair or co-chairs
- Data governance manager or director
- Data stewards
- Business unit representatives
- IT Representatives
- Legal and compliance representatives
Let us look into each of the above structural aspects in brief:
1. Executive sponsor
This is usually a C-level executive (like the CIO, CDO, or CEO) who has the authority to make strategic decisions and allocate resources. The executive sponsor provides leadership and direction to the committee and helps to align data governance with the organization’s overall business strategy.
2. Committee chair or co-chairs
The chair or co-chairs are responsible for managing the committee’s activities. They set the agenda for meetings, guide discussions, and ensure that decisions are made and actions are taken. The chair or co-chairs are often senior leaders with a deep understanding of data governance.
3. Data governance manager or director
This individual is responsible for the day-to-day management of the data governance program. They work closely with the chair to execute the committee’s decisions and coordinate data governance activities across the organization.
4. Data stewards
Data stewards are individuals who have a deep understanding of the data in their respective domains. They play a key role in implementing data governance policies and standards, managing data quality, and resolving data issues.
5. Business unit representatives
These are leaders from various business units who understand the data needs and challenges of their respective areas. They ensure that the perspectives of their units are represented and help to align data governance with business objectives.
6. IT representatives
IT representatives provide technical expertise and ensure that the data governance program is supported by the necessary technology and infrastructure. They may include roles like the IT director, data architect, or data manager.
7. Legal and compliance representatives
These individuals ensure that data governance policies and practices comply with relevant laws, regulations, and industry standards. They help the organization to manage data-related risks and maintain data privacy and security.
The exact composition of the committee can vary depending on the organization’s size, structure, and specific data governance needs. The key is to have a diverse group of individuals who can collectively address all aspects of data governance, including strategy, policy, operations, and technology.
The best time to form a data governance committee
Forming a data governance committee is a strategic decision that should ideally be made early in the development of an organization’s data strategy. However, the exact timing can depend on several factors such as:
- Data maturity level
- Regulatory compliance
- Business objectives
- Data-related challenges
- Organizational change
Let us look into each of the above factors in brief:
1. Data maturity level
If your organization is just starting to gather and use data, it might be premature to form a data governance committee. However, as your data assets grow and become more complex, a data governance committee will be critical to manage data effectively and ensure its quality, security, and compliance.
2. Regulatory compliance
If your organization is subject to data-related regulations like GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, etc., it would be prudent to form a data governance committee as soon as possible to ensure compliance.
3. Business objectives
If your business strategy involves leveraging data for decision-making, predictive analytics, AI, or other data-intensive applications, it’s best to form a data governance committee early on to ensure that your data is reliable, accurate, and usable.
4. Data-related challenges
If your organization is facing challenges related to data quality, data security, data privacy, or data management, it’s a clear sign that you need a data governance committee to address these issues.
5. Organizational change
If your organization is undergoing a major change, such as a merger, acquisition, or digital transformation, it’s a good time to form a data governance committee to manage data-related risks and opportunities.
Regardless of when you form the committee, it’s important to ensure that it has clear objectives, strong leadership, and the necessary resources to be effective. Remember that data governance is not a one-time project but an ongoing program that requires continuous effort and commitment.
Where to learn more about forming a data governance committee?
Here are a few books and resources that provide insights into the formation and effective management of data governance committees, along with real-world examples and case studies:
- ”Data Governance: How to Design, Deploy and Sustain an Effective Data Governance Program” by John Ladley
This book offers a comprehensive overview of data governance, including guidance on forming a data governance committee. It includes real-world examples and practical advice.
- ”Non-Invasive Data Governance: The Path of Least Resistance and Greatest Success” by Robert S. Seiner
Seiner’s approach to data governance emphasizes collaboration and business involvement, which is crucial when forming a data governance committee. The book includes practical advice and real-world examples.
- ”Data Stewardship: An Actionable Guide to Effective Data Management and Data Governance” by David Plotkin
This book provides a detailed guide to the role of data stewards, who are often key members of data governance committees. It includes case studies and practical advice.
- ”Executing Data Quality Projects: Ten Steps to Quality Data and Trusted Information” by Danette McGilvray
While not focused solely on data governance committees, this book provides a step-by-step approach to data quality, which is a key concern of any data governance committee.
- ”Enterprise Data Governance: Reference and Master Data Management Semantic Modeling” by Pierre Bonnet
This book covers several important topics related to data governance, including the formation and management of data governance committees.
Additionally, there are numerous online resources and forums where professionals share their experiences and insights related to data governance committees. Websites like the Data Governance Institute, TDWI (Transforming Data with Intelligence), and professional networking sites like LinkedIn have groups and discussions dedicated to data governance topics.
Remember, while these resources provide valuable guidance, the most effective data governance committee will be one that is tailored to the unique needs of your organization.
Bringing it all together
Today, organizations face the challenge of effectively managing and governing their data assets. That’s why we need a data governance committee. In this guide, we delved into the key aspects of a data governance committee, its role, composition, and the right time to form one.
By understanding the importance of this committee and its impact on data integrity and decision-making, organizations can use their data assets more constructively and ensure responsible and effective data governance.
If you are evaluating and looking to deploy best-in-class data access governance for your data ecosystem without compromising on data democratization? Do give Atlan a spin.
Data governance committee: Related reads
- What is Data Governance? Its Importance, Principles & How to Get Started?
- Key Objectives of Data Governance: How Should You Think About Them?
- Data Governance Framework — Examples, Templates, Standards, Best Practices & How to Create One?
- Data Governance and Compliance: Act of Checks & Balances
- How to implement data governance? Steps, Prerequisites, Essential Factors & Business Case
- How to Improve Data Governance? Steps, Tips & Template
- 7 Steps to Simplify Data Governance for Your Entire Organization
- Snowflake Data Governance — Features, Frameworks & Best Practices
- Automated Data Governance: How Does It Help You Manage Access, Security & More at Scale?
- Enterprise Data Governance — Basics, Strategy, Key Challenges, Benefits & Best Practices
- Data Governance in Manufacturing: Steps, Challenges, and Practical Examples
- Data Governance in Retail: Best Practices, Challenges, and Viable Solutions
- Data Governance in Insurance: Why is it Important and How it Drives Positive Business Outcomes
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