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The data governance imperative

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Data governance has become a strategic imperative in today’s information rich economy, where data is considered the raw material. The data governance discipline represents a convergence of data quality, data management, data policies, business process management and risk management.

Sean Eekhout, BI specialist at The IQ Business Group, says, “Data is extremely valuable and is the essence of an organisation, yet many fail in their efforts to manage and protect their data.”
He says that today companies are confronted by an explosion of data, as well as the need to make business decisions on this large volume of data through the use of forward looking advanced analytics.
This typically requires data originating from both within and without the organisation. This increases the complexity of the corporate information environment, and challenges existing data management processes.
It is an organisation's responsibility to govern its data and to achieve this, processes, systems and technologies need to be implemented to protect and share data on different levels across the company.
“At The IQ Business Group, we are able to work with clients to establish a blue print for their data governance procedures. Our highly-skilled management consultants assess the client’s data, and establish risk models and governance structures taking into account factors such as legislation, geography, competitive advantage."
He says that the forever changing regulatory environment, from the requirements of POPI (Protection of Personal Information Act), PCI DSS (Payment Card Data Security Standard), Solvency II and King III have made data governance a vital component.
“The key to the success of data governance implementations is to remember that it cannot be dealt with purely from a technology perspective. It is only by balancing technology investments with the appropriate organisational constructs of leadership, culture, people and processes that success can be achieved.
"The whole issue of data governance needs to finally move out of the data centre into the boardroom,” says Eekhout.
The implementation of effective data governance and the overall management of the availability, usability, integrity, and security of the data are essential if an organisation wishes to derive intelligence and competitive advantage from its data assets.
“An effective data governance process will generate a return on investment as well as tangible business value. Organisations are enabled to respond effectively to regulatory requirements and business challenges, seizing opportunities with the right information being available to the right people at the right time."
An established data governance process will enable organisations to develop and implement policies covering the full spectrum of responsibilities.
These include accuracy, accessibility, consistency, completeness and updating of data, processes that deal with its storage, protection and use and audit procedures that ensure ongoing compliance with government regulations.