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Why Data Governance is Important and How to Get Started

In today’s digital landscape, data is being generated at an unprecedented pace—and continues to grow exponentially. According to recent estimates, approximately 328.77 million terabytes of data are created each day. As much as 90% of the world’s data was generated in the last two years alone. And by 2025, zettabytes are expected to increase by over 150%.*

The massive volume of data presents tremendous opportunities for businesses, with the power to inform profitable business decisions, support growth, and drive innovation. But without proper governance strategies in place, organizations risk being overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of data—much of which is unstructured—hindering their ability to extract valuable insights and make informed decisions.

What is data governance, and why do you need it?

Data governance is the process of organizing, securing, managing, and presenting data using defined processes, policies, and standards. With well-defined guidelines for data quality, security, privacy, and compliance, data governance improves overall data accuracy, defines access controls, and ensures compliance with data privacy regulations and internal company policies. It also radically reduces your risk of data breaches, as well as lost or misused data.

Data governance and data culture:

Effective data governance cannot exist without a strong data culture to support it. In fact, establishing a data culture is fundamental for any business that wants to use data to grow and thrive. A positive data culture goes beyond the technical aspects of data governance and encompasses the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of employees. With a data-focused mindset, team members are more likely to understand the value of data and how to use it to drive informed decision-making. More accountability, better collaboration, and improved data literacy translate to better compliance with data policies, more effective cross-functional data management, and an empowered team that knows how to use, interpret, and act on data in accordance with governance practices.

How to get started:

The effectiveness of your data governance program is largely dependent on how well it is developed and managed. Here are some steps to get you started:

  • Define your objectives. For example, you might want to improve data quality across the business to drive operational efficiencies and better decision-making.
  • Form a team that includes members from different parts of the organization. With a cross-functional team in place, you benefit from diverse perspectives, widespread collaboration, and a greater likelihood of organization-wide adoption.
  • Evaluate the data landscape, define critical data assets and sources, and identify key stakeholders.
  • Develop easy-to-understand and easy-to-follow data governance policies, standards, and guidelines, then communicate them out to the organization.
  • Implement procedures to organize and protect the data. This might include categorizing data based on its sensitivity and controlling who can access it.
  • Evaluate often to ensure adherence and adjust as business needs change.

Your data is only as good as the processes and measures in place that govern and maintain its quality and use. With a strong data governance program in place, your business will be poised to enhance decision-making, improve operational efficiency, and ensure regulatory compliance.

Though establishing a data governance program may seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be if you have the right resources in place to get it off the ground. At J2, we have an extensive network of highly qualified technical professionals with advanced expertise in data analytics and management. For more information about how we can staff your team with IT pros to support your data governance activities, contact us here, or reach out to me directly at