Evolution of Data Governance – Recap of the Fireside Chat

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As companies strive to improve their market and competitive positions, transitioning from a command and control data governance model to a non-invasive approach where stakeholders are empowered and aligned with their objectives is paramount to their success.

During our fireside chat last week, industry experts discussed challenges faced by enterprises in implementing a delegated governance model and outlined potential approaches. The webinar featured: 

  • Robert S. Seiner, President & Principal at KIK Consulting & Educational Services; 
  • Rajiv Dholakia, Senior Vice President of Product, Privacera;  
  • Petrus (Piet) Loubser, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Privacera;

Continue reading for highlights of the following topics discussed in the webinar.

Defining the Terms Associated With Effective Data Governance

The session started off by discussing the advantages data-driven organizations hold over peers that are lagging. Bob suggested that data has the potential to both produce great benefits for an organization as well as cause harm if used improperly. Therefore, businesses are now beginning to focus on effective data governance and consider themselves to be custodians of data as it is being shared within and outside the organization. Rajiv pointed to the tension within the organizations that arise out of using data as fuel to power the business and at the same time minimize the consequences of unintended “spillage” which is making life difficult for chief data and privacy officers. The panel recommended businesses to be action-oriented and adopt organizational best practices to ensure that data is used securely as a driver for competitive advantage. 

Barriers to Accessing Enterprise Data

The discussion then turned toward the reasons why accessing data remains an issue for data consumers to this day. Data scientists and analysts spend the majority of their time looking for and trying to get access to data. Rajiv pointed to a plethora of choices that are now available to companies to store and analyze data and this “unbundling” has contributed to data inaccessibility. Bob mentioned that even though the technology is improving continuously, at the core data governance is a people and behavioral problem, and technology, in this case, is actually an enabler. It is unreasonable to assume that companies can simply acquire a tool to solve their data governance problems. A very interesting insight shared by the panelists is that essentially companies have become banks that store data – and just like financial services institutions have security in place to protect their funds – companies also need to have robust safeguards to ensure authorized access to data.    

Roadblocks to Data Sharing

The next topic of discussion was the factors that have traditionally been roadblocks in sharing data in and outside the companies. Bob shared that traditionally companies have not done a good job communicating at the corporate level that data governance is a culture-changing event where employees need to become data literate and understand its importance as well as its toxicity. This transformation cannot be accomplished by simply flipping a switch. Up till recently, executives didn’t have visibility into the effort it takes to produce the governance reports that they receive, but companies are now doing a better job understanding their data landscape and realizing that it will require a resolute effort to have effective data governance in place. In this regard, Rajiv provided an example of a sporting goods manufacturer that in addition to being a manufacturer is also a distributor and a retailer due to its web presence. Due to these relationships and the sharing of sensitive data securely across its business partners, the governance of data becomes a very difficult problem to solve.

Enterprise Mandate of Data Governance

In terms of oversight and responsibility, Piet brought up that data governance has traditionally been the domain of IT departments and posed the question of how do we improve the centralized governance model and create a dialog between IT and lines of business. The panelists responded by saying that data governance needs to be part of both IT and business because IT doesn’t have complete visibility of all aspects of data governance. If data governance initiatives are exclusively part of IT, it is like making the maintenance department in a hotel responsible for customer service and experience. Despite the maintenance department having a vital role in making hotel guests stay comfortable, it is not equipped to provide services that cater to the guests while checking in and during their stay. Therefore, data governance needs to be truly a partnership between IT and business in which data consumers may still need to go to IT to get access to data but the permission to access particular data needs to come from the particular business team responsible for that data. Rajiv added that every business needs to take into consideration its unique requirements and nuances in designing its data governance program.

Data Governance As A Corporate Priority

Finally, Piet probed into the drivers that would enable management to take data governance more seriously and make it a priority. The panelists mentioned that if companies are exclusively focused on data in their quest to realize a healthy return from their analytics investments, they are likely to be disappointed. Companies need to formalize the data governance practices that are already in place and avoid implementing a top-down approach that will add another task to employees’ already busy schedules.     

For these and many more insights as well as a demo of Governed Data Sharing, a delegated governance model introduced in PrivaceraCloud 4.0, listen to the fireside chat on-demand or share at your convenience. 

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