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An Introduction to Active Data Governance

Ammar Ali

Content Manager

June 14th, 2024

The way that companies govern data has evolved over the years. Previously, data governance processes focused on rigid procedures and strict controls over data assets. But now, with the data-driven culture, modern enterprises are adopting an agile approach toward data governance that primarily centers around data accessibility and empowering business users to take responsibility for governing and managing data. Active data governance is essential to ensure quality and accessibility when managing large volumes of data. It delivers a flexible and fast approach to data management that organizations must pay attention to.

Understanding Active Data Governance

Active data governance is the proactive and continuous management of data throughout its lifecycle to maximize its value. Unlike passive approaches, which might only react to issues as they arise, active data governance anticipates and mitigates problems before they impact the organization.

Here’s a breakdown of its key components:

  • Data Quality: Ensuring that data is complete and reliable. This involves regular monitoring, validation, and cleansing processes to maintain high standards.
  • Data Privacy: Protecting private information from unlawful access and ensuring data handling practices comply with privacy laws and regulations. This includes implementing strict access controls.
  • Data Security: Safeguarding data against breaches and cyber threats through robust security measures like encryption and regular security audits.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Ensuring data management practices align with relevant laws, such as GDPR, HIPAA, or CCPA.
  • Lifecycle Management: Managing data from creation and collection, through storage and usage, to eventual disposal. This ensures data remains useful and secure at every stage, with clear policies for data retention and deletion.

Active data governance requires collaboration across departments, using solutions like data cataloging tools, automated data lineage tracking, and governance platforms. It allows you to turn data into a strategic asset and drive better decision-making. Here are some important factors to keep in mind:

  • Formalizing Existing Governance Processes: Most organizations are already governing their data in some way, even if they haven’t formally put it in writing. Active data governance involves taking these informal practices and creating documentation of processes, which allows for improvement and scalability — ensuring that governance is applied consistently across the organization.
  • People-Centric Approach: Effective data governance begins with understanding the roles and responsibilities of the people involved. Every individual in an organization interacts with data in some capacity. Analyzing these interactions establishes a clear operating model that aligns with existing responsibilities, making it easier to formalize and enhance data governance practices.
  • Integrating Governance in Workflows: Active data governance integrates policies into the daily workflows and tools business users use. This approach ensures that governance standards and terms are embedded in processes, providing immediate context and guidance for correct data usage.

Benefits of Adopting Active Data Governance

Adopting active data governance offers several key advantages for organizations, including:

  • Enhanced Data Quality and Integrity: Proactively identify and resolve data quality issues, ensuring accuracy, consistency, and reliability through automated validation, cleansing, and enrichment.
  • Increased Operational Efficiency: Streamlines data management by automating discovery, classification, and metadata management, accelerating onboarding, improving accessibility, and enabling self-service analytics.
  • Improved Collaboration and Data Stewardship: Promotes collaboration among stakeholders with a centralized platform for data documentation, lineage, and sharing, fostering a culture of collective responsibility and better data stewardship.

Implementing Active Data Governance

Organizations need a strong active data governance strategy to manage and use data effectively. This section outlines key steps to creating an active data governance framework that ensures data quality, compliance, and accessibility.

Define Your Goals

Start by defining clear, achievable goals for your data governance program. These goals include improving data quality, ensuring regulatory compliance, enhancing data security, or driving better decision-making. Clearly defined goals provide direction and purpose, guiding the development of a strategy that aligns with your business objectives.

Establish Policies and Procedures

Next, develop and document policies and procedures for managing data. This includes assigning responsibility for data governance, establishing standards and best practices, and outlining processes for monitoring and managing data. Clear communication of these ensures all stakeholders understand their roles and responsibilities.

Embed Governance into Daily Activities

Ensure that governance policies are embedded into your processes’ daily activities. This involves integrating governance guidelines into existing workflows and tools and providing real-time access to governance standards and data context. Automation can facilitate this by ensuring that governance policies are consistently applied, allowing seamless data sharing across the organization.

Monitor and Adjust Continuously

Active data governance is not a one-time activity but an ongoing process. Continuously monitor your data and governance program to ensure effectiveness. This process includes:

  • Regularly reviewing data quality and compliance metrics.
  • Adjusting policies based on feedback and performance data.
  • Providing ongoing training and support to ensure adherence to governance practices.

Implement Data Governance Tools

Invest in data governance tools to automate and simplify the process. Look for a unified solution to centralize and streamline governance activities. It should come with data quality capabilities that can automate data validation and cleansing to maintain high standards. Also, look for data catalog features to allow easy data discovery and management. Choose tools that fit your specific needs, ensuring they integrate seamlessly with your existing data architecture.

Unified Code-Free Environments and Automation

A unified code-free environment and automation are essential for successful active data governance. They provide several advantages. The efficiency and flat learning curve are the significant benefits, as code-free environments make governance accessible to non-technical users, broadening participation and enhancing compliance. Efficiency is another key advantage, with automation reducing the burden of manual governance tasks, allowing for real-time monitoring and rapid response to issues.

Integrating these elements into your active data governance strategy, you can create a more efficient, effective, and adaptive governance framework, transforming data into a strategic asset.

Conclusion

Active data governance is gaining popularity due to its proactive and flexible approach to managing data. Active data governance empowers organizations to enhance data quality, improve compliance, and drive better decision-making. Using this approach quickly will position companies to turn their data into a strategic asset to make the most out of it.

Active Data Governance with Astera

Astera’s data governance solution provides a unified platform. The no-code platform acts as a single source of truth for your data, ensuring that all data quality standards and validation processes are centralized.

With features like data asset deployment, a centralized catalog, access management, and enhanced data discoverability, Astera simplifies data management, ensuring reliability and accuracy. This integrated approach helps organizations overcome the difficulties of managing data across disjointed systems.

Interested in learning more? Schedule a free personalized demo or get in touch with us here!

Authors:

  • Ammar Ali
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