There is no doubt that data governance is rising up the agenda at many financial institutions, driven both from an increasing regulatory focus on good data as well as a firm’s internal focus on improving data quality and applying ‘fit for purpose’ data to the key business processes.
Data governance itself describes the overall management in relation to the availability, usability, integrity, and security of the data employed in an enterprise. At one level, the firm must establish the governing controls, standards, policies, organisation, people and reporting lines around their key data sets. Once this is in place, effective data governance is all about having the control and visibility over the underlying data processes and the visible evidence that these processes are in line with the standards and policies.
A firm’s enterprise data management strategy must be in part driven by the requirements for effective data governance and likewise effective data governance must focus on the data that is linked to critical business processes – two sides of the same coin. Many firms look at the challenges around setting up a data governance strategy and see it as a potentially long, onerous, resource intensive, analysis and documentation exercise that sits across all arms of the organisation and is a collaboration of many teams including data management, Operations and IT – all in all a major undertaking. And it isn’t just a one-off project - it is an evolving process that will grow and change as the firm continues to identify which data sets are key to which business process and where data quality needs to improve.
So how can a firm make this an easier task than it sounds?
The key is to get your data management technology platform providing all the data governance answers. Unfortunately, there is no way around carrying out the initial framework tasks of data ownership, standards, policies and organisation. But after that, the data management system should be able to provide all the answers and keep data governance up to date - automatically.
An integrated data governance and data management system is the main requirement here and that is where the technology vendors should be looking to deliver the next generation of their solutions. Every piece of the data lifecycle; from data gathering, validating, mastering, processing and distribution should be visible and exposed through a governance layer within the data management solution. When something changes in the data lifecycle, the change should be effected once in the data management system and exposed or made visible to the business and governance teams through the governance application within. In this way, the data management and governance teams can answer all the key questions directly from their EDM: Who owns this data? How is it defined? How do we use the data in constructing our master data sets? What validation and quality controls do we apply over it? Where is this data consumed within our main business applications, data stores and outputs? Effective data governance and data lineage exposed over the entire data process – directly from your EDM solution.
And what is the advantage of integrating EDM and the Data Governance layer in a single toolset? Data Governance becomes a self-documenting and relevant ‘out of the box’ process – no longer just a set of documented data guidelines, procedures and quality controls that must be maintained and updated as a separate, ongoing exercise. It’s all just a part of the day to day operational process.
One further element of effective data governance is making sure that any data quality issues, and monitoring are picked up in the incident management capabilities of your data platform and you can extend your data governance coverage to ensure that any data issues arising are assigned the correct level of accountability and visibility.
In summary, data management and data governance are two sides of the same coin and more to the point should be entirely integrated within an EDM platform that is set up, maintained and used by IT, Operations and Data Governance teams.
Curium Data Systems is a leading provider of EDM solutions to financial services firms. For more information go to www.curiumdata.com.