What's the difference between data governance and data management? (Part 1)


Lately, the definitions of data governance and data management look very much alike. In this two-part series, we'll define data governance and data management. And we'll see that there's a big difference in the two.

steel of building represents data governanceLet’s start with data governance. I think of data governance as the framework and the organization surrounding the data management disciplines. As such, it's important to define what data governance means for our organizations. Usually there's a specific objective surrounding a data governance initiative. Some organizations require rigid data governance practices driven by the business, while others require something in between – perhaps something driven by both business and IT.

A good example relates to measuring how your organization ensures privacy of customer information. Customer information can be propagated throughout the enterprise, so it's very important to measure and monitor protection mechanisms that are built into your enterprise on an ongoing basis.

If the objective of the data governance initiative is to protect the data, launching a council may not be readily accepted. However, posting the results of the data governance initiative month over month (yes, be the cheerleader!) may very well launch such a council.

So, data governance is the framework. We have to decide which part of the framework to tackle first. I love data quality, and data quality measuring is very well documented. Including data quality as part of the first data governance initiative may work for your organization, too.

At many organizations, data governance fails. Maybe it's because we built it up so much as "the way" to organize our data management needs and/or projects. In any case, I know this: If you can define data governance for your organization as a framework – then use the tools and skills you already have to bite off a piece of that framework – it will be accepted. Once accepted, data governance will be positioned to expand based on your business needs.

Next, watch for Part 2 of this series, where I'll focus on data management and how it relates to governance.

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About Author

Joyce Norris-Montanari

President of DBTech Solutions, Inc

Joyce Norris-Montanari, CBIP-CDMP, is president of DBTech Solutions, Inc. Joyce advises clients on all aspects of architectural integration, business intelligence and data management. Joyce advises clients about technology, including tools like ETL, profiling, database, quality and metadata. Joyce speaks frequently at data warehouse conferences and is a contributor to several trade publications. She co-authored Data Warehousing and E-Business (Wiley & Sons) with William H. Inmon and others. Joyce has managed and implemented data integrations, data warehouses and operational data stores in industries like education, pharmaceutical, restaurants, telecommunications, government, health care, financial, oil and gas, insurance, research and development and retail. She can be reached at jmontanari@earthlink.net.

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