Data governance

Data governance is a journey

As we have all experienced, times are changing and a “new normal” is developing. These changes have brought about the realization that companies are required to know where their data is and how it is being used. And subsequently, the realization that very little is known about the data within an organization. Indeed, according to watercraft, only 0.05% of data is known and used by companies. This unknown data contains a wealth of information about an organization’s processes, business models, security, privacy, and human dynamics.

When the data is understood, it opens the door to a whole new world. As a result, we now have companies embracing the idea of ​​data management and governance.

Data management and governance is a journey. This journey will have twists, turns, mis-turns, punctures and obstacles to overcome along the way. The task of managing large amounts of data is daunting. This is especially true for financial institutions, which have the additional task of managing very sensitive customer data, such as bank details, PIN numbers, etc. The key is to break it down into small steps and celebrate accomplishments along the way. The strategic plan that every company develops for data management and governance will continue to grow and expand as new regulations, risks, and insights are introduced into the environment.

Build a foundation

Finance organizations implementing a data governance plan should always keep an overview to ensure that each step is meaningful to the organization. If a step does not add value, organizations should revisit and revise that step, and possibly the plan, to incorporate value. To succeed in data management and governance, financial companies must build fundamental pillars to support ever-changing challenges. This foundation includes:

  • Get Membership: Information governance committees are growing in popularity, in part because they serve to bring together a wide range of expertise while uniting departments across the organization toward a common goal. A critical part of the plan should be to provide company-wide training, including to senior management, to inspire collaboration and buy-in.
  • Understand what and where your data is: Dark data can create blind spots in the organization, including unidentified risks. That’s why companies are now focusing on “people data” such as email messages and files to better understand the human side of business.
  • Prioritize goals: Set goals along the way that align with higher-level strategic initiatives. For example, an initial goal may be to gather information and clean up high-risk data repositories, while implementing more mature governance and privacy policies for all unstructured data may be a benchmark that takes more time.


Once the foundations of a data governance initiative have been established, financial institutions must ensure that each step in the process is meaningful to the organization and delivers real business value. Here are a few things you’ll probably want to keep in mind:

  • Think Privacy First: Privacy developments and new regulations are often at the heart of today’s information governance initiatives. Therefore, a vision of how personal data will be handled should be one of the first topics discussed. This is a much trickier problem than it seems, and one that cannot be solved by a single player – it requires an orchestra.
  • Manage on site: As far as possible, avoid copies. Multiple copies of your data increase your cost and risk and your ability to achieve a truly managed and governed environment. The use of emerging technologies allows companies to manage the majority of data without creating copies, while archiving can be reserved for high-value data (and data that must be retained for compliance purposes)
  • Research + Insight are key: An architecture that enables the ability to search and weed out data to gather insights is a critical pillar of all governance functions, including eDiscovery, compliance, privacy, and now, “people analytics.” .

What is the world of unknown data?

Once the steps start to fall into place, the ideas will come in waves. It starts with simply understanding what data you have: how much is redundant, outdated, contains private information, etc. new use cases such as identifying top performers, understanding corporate culture, or even early warning of discouraged resources and potential leak risks.

Data governance is an endless journey. Fortunately, it’s also a journey that can open up a whole new world of information, serving to minimize risk and guide successful digital transformation. Remember to slow down and have fun along the way.