What is data governance?

By Talend Team

Data governance is a complex topic. In a nutshell, it refers to the aspect of data management concerning an organization's ability to ensure (A) that high data quality exists throughout the complete data lifecycle, and (B) that sufficient data controls are in place to support business objectives.

In practice, data governance is the collection of processes, roles, policies, and standards that ensure a balance between access and control for information throughout an organization. Data governance determines who can take what action, upon what data, in what situations, using what methods.

Line of Business leaders (marketing, sales, product, finance, HR, etc.) are under pressure to deliver better results, and they’re leaning into cloud-based applications like Salesforce, Quickbooks, Marketo, Workday to serve their needs. This leaves data and analytics leaders in charge of data programs caught between establishing control and compliance and empowering the business to access the data needed to drive growth.

Data governance initiatives that meet all parties’ needs frequently fail because there is no one simple solution: the issues that need to be solved and the technology and cultural changes required to solve them can feel overwhelming. Yet your company’s success depends on broad access to healthy data that is complete, accurate, and timely, while at the same time secure and compliant with privacy regulations.

5 key focus areas

At Talend, we advise our customers to take a phased approach, focusing efforts on the places that will make the biggest immediate impact. The key areas of data governance include data availability, usability, quality, integrity, and security. Understanding what each of these areas delivers in terms of data can help you prioritize your data governance efforts.

  • Availability: An organization’s data is easily accessible by the people who need it; they can retrieve it in a timely fashion without going through multiple gatekeepers.
  • Usability: Data can be used, shared, and analyzed right away. It maintains a consistent format throughout the dataset and between updates and versions. It is sufficiently consistent with the other datasets to allow joins or enrichments.
  • Quality: Data is complete, recent (up-to-date), and accurate.
  • Integrity: Data is reliable and/or certified by some governance body. Data practitioners or analysts know where data originates and how it has been used.
  • Security: Data is compliant with local and industry-specific regulations and can only be accessed by a defined set of authorized people.

Proper data governance requires consistent and routine practices to reduce risk and exposure while continuing to ensure that the data you need to drive business success is available, usable, secure, and trustworthy. Talend can help you build a healthy data environment across cloud data warehouses, data lakes, and on-premises databases with technology for end-to-end data lineage, persistent data quality monitoring throughout data's lifecycle, and tools to simplify and automate data cleansing.

With a healthy data environment, you can govern your data at scale — finally getting value out of your data instead of worrying about risks and broken processes. To learn more about how Talend can help you prioritize areas of data governance to help your business succeed, visit our product page on data integrity and governance or download Talend’s Definitive Guide to Data Governance.