How to Set Up Data Governance: The Basics

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Tim Goswell

Data Governance Lead, Robinson Ryan

Following on from my article about where to start with data governance, what are the key basics you need to have in place to set up data governance and help make decisions on data – from decommissioning to transformation?  

  1. Conceptual data model and glossary

The conceptual data model is a high-level business view which covers all your critical data assets that are needed to support the business. The glossary accompanies the data model to capture what data assets are called and mean so everyone is clear. Since it has the word data in it you may be tempted to think it is an IT skill. No! Creating a conceptual data model is a basic business capability that more businesses need to grasp. (Robinson Ryan has training on data modelling if you’re interested). 

  1. Current data architecture

Make sure you have some data landscapes or data flows so you know what systems are involved in sourcing, processing, storing and delivering your business data to users. This, along with the data models are essential building blocks that document your current data architecture. You can then use these to make conscious plans to vastly simplify and optimise your data infrastructure. Don’t think it’s impossible. Others have done it successfully – Macquarie Bank slashed their data operating costs by 50% doing exactly that! 

  1. Data integration needs

Start to write down what and why you need to integrate data together and how this maps to the business need. Don’t forget the requirements for security. You might realise you need to reorganise your infrastructure first before attempting this because the security vs functionality equation does not work. 

Setting up data governance isn’t complicated. It is about making sure the right things are being done with data: from a safety/security perspective and from a “making the most of your data assets” perspective. 

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