Effective data governance is always challenging for any organisation. From people, processes and technology, these are some of the key building blocks, to ensure compliance with managing data. However data governance, also brings several challenges, which I discovered at last month’s event organised by Gardner Systems.
Held at the headquarters of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) at Mann Island, this event featured two speakers in Stefanie Jacobs from Microsoft and Jennifer Platts from St Helens Council. Both gave a useful angle on data governance and of its importance in IT management policy, which is very relevant to complying with GDPR legislation, as this legally affects how businesses can store, use and manage data.
Both speakers explained how technology is a facilitator for data governance. With companies moving to cloud-based services, combined with the increasing growth and popularity of agile working, it is crucial to have the right infrastructure platform and governance processes in place. This is so people only have access to what they need, and to reduce the risk of sensitive data leakages, meaning that data governance is more important than ever.
So how can we meet the challenges posed by data governance? Like everything with implementing business changes there is no silver bullet, as technology itself will not solely make organisations compliant. Successful data governance requires careful planning and consideration of business culture, environment, processes, technologies, people and related legislation involved. In simple terms, meeting the challenges posed by data governance requires complex solutions derived from all the above, that are detailed and meticulously specified to meet individual needs of businesses.
There was plenty that I learned about meeting these challenges posed by data governance, which are distilled in the points below.
- Trust needs to be earned.
- It is challenging to manage data.
- Everybody has a different interpretation on data governance.
- Data must always be treated with respect.
- You need to have the leadership, buy-in support, skills and experience.
- Make it as simple and seamless as possible.
- You need to know, protect and govern your data.
- Remember to educate and train your users.
In summary, I have gained a clearer understanding about what stops people from successfully governing data. This includes understanding governance and importance of data, along with identifying if the required skills and experience are available to deliver governance. To overcome these challenges, a structured approach is needed to understand where the business is, where the data is, what is the classification, who owns it, what is the fix, and how it needs to be governed.
To conclude, I would like to thank Stefanie and Jennifer. My thanks also go to Frank Coward, Paul Stringfellow, Jason Fitzgerald and Jane Hanna from Gardner Systems, along with Ian Hawkins from the LCRCA for all coming together to organise the event. It certainly was useful and educational for me to learn and appreciate the importance of effective data governance.