Data governance crucial to both federal government and corporate world

By Alessandro Ferrari | 9 April 2014

While much has been stated about the importance of data governance in the corporate world, it is also crucial to the government's use of Big Data, Frank Konkel wrote in a recent article for the Business of Federal Technology.

The challenges that are encountered when the federal government makes an effort to harness its data have been elaborated on by John Dvorak, section chief for the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Special Technologies and Applications Division, the article noted. Dvorak emphasized the difficulties that his government agency has when working with other law enforcement entities.

"The hardest part for us is sharing data outside. We want to share more data with people," Dvorak told the news source. "You have to have a governance process that as data is created, it is properly marked. How data is shared and properly marked is all brand new thinking in this world. When we hand data off to [another federal agency], we want to have a mutual agreement on how to protect that data. 

Data governance crucial in corporate world

The key importance that data governance has in the corporate world has been observed by many. Michele Goetz, a senior research analyst at Forrester Research, wrote in a recent blog post about the purpose of policies created to control the use of the information gathered by companies in their use of Big Data.

She said that data governance is used to ensure that existing figures are used effectively and that the various risks associated with the collection, retention and use of information gathered are managed effectively. The author stated that concerns about protecting the information gathered by Big Data sometimes eclipses making sure that the figures are used effectively.

Dvorak articulated similar concerns about the FBI's use of the information it had gathered, stating that technological advancements have ensured that the amount of data being gathered by the government is expanding at a torrid pace, but that making the greatest use of this information will require proper data governance.

Qualitative approach to data could help

In addition, other factors that limit these figures in the most efficient way possible were noted by Dirk Rankin, chief technology officer for the National Counterterrorism Center. He stated that the individuals using the data might benefit from taking a new approach to how to think about this information. The government official suggested that these individuals could think of the data gathered in a qualitative fashion, instead of simply focusing on the numbers.

At any rate, data governance is encountering many challenges as various stakeholders make an effort to determine what the most beneficial policies would be.


Alessandro Ferrari heads up global marketing outreach for Rimes Technologies Corporation, which was founded in 1996 to serve the complex needs of the buy-side. Rimes’ managed data services and cloud-based technologies used by investment managers, pension funds and other asset owners around the world. Image used under creative commons licence courtesy of redjar.

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