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Benefits of Data Governance

To build an impactful data governance approach, it’s time to think bigger than “just” compliance. As enterprises move forward in a world where the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is firmly in place, as well as other data security and privacy mandates, the need to cement data governance in day-to-day operations has never been clearer. Certainly, the regulatory mandate has been critical in informing enterprises about the importance of this oft-neglected practice.
Benefits of Data Governance
State of Data Governance

State of data governance

Our "2021 State of Data Governance and Empowerment" report shows that the traditional reasons to implement data governance remain largely unchanged, with analytics (35%), regulatory compliance (34%), and better decision-making (27%) as top reasons. However, improved data security (48%) and data quality (45%) debuted as the top two data governance drivers in this latest research.

These new primary drivers align with the increase in security challenges experienced due to COVID-19 in addition to continuing data proliferation, and are primary reasons why 57% of respondents have advancing data governance as a top-five organizational priority. Overall, data governance has reached a new level of maturity, with 87% of organizations reporting they’ve established a data governance program or are in the process of implementing this key tenet of modern business, compared to 49% in prior research.

We also learned that the silos between data governance , data operations and data protection are diminishing as enterprises seek to understand their data and the systems that use and secure it to further empower smarter decision-making.

Why is data governance important?

Of course, compliance is and will always be an important facet of data governance. As the starting point for many enterprises’ governance initiatives, we appreciate the role GDPR played in making the practice more prominent. But it’s time to think bigger, as many organizations are.


A truly comprehensive approach to governance will help ensure your organization’s data assets are serving the needs of both data keepers (IT) and data users (business analysts). It is a collaborative, strategic and ongoing practice that allows you to uncover and track data, understand it within the correct context(s), and maximize its security, quality and value. If you’re considering a data governance initiative, then you can’t ignore these other important drivers:

Better decision-making

One of the key benefits of data governance is better decision-making. This applies to both the decision-making process, as well as the decisions themselves. Well-governed data is more discoverable, making it easier for the relevant parties to find useful insights. It also means decisions will be based on the right data, ensuring greater accuracy and trust.

Improved data understanding and lineage

Data governance is about understanding what your data is and where it is stored. When implemented well, governance provides a comprehensive view of all data assets. It also provides greater accountability. By assigning permissions, it is far easier to determine who’s responsible for specific data.

Operational efficiency

Good data is incredibly valuable in the age of data-driven business. Therefore, it should be treated as the asset it is. Consider a manufacturing business’ physical assets, for example. Well-run manufacturing businesses ensure their production-line machinery undergoes regular inspections, maintenance and upgrades so the line operates smoothly with limited down-time. The same approach should apply to data.

Increased revenue

Driving revenue should, in fact, be higher on the benefit list. However, it’s positioned here because the aforementioned benefits cumulatively influence it. All the benefits of governance addressed above help businesses make better, faster decisions with more certainty. It means that less costly errors – in the form of false starts and even data breaches – are made. It means that you spend less money by managing risk, and closing the most vulnerable holes in your business’ security, instead of more money retrospectively, dealing with PR and financial fallout.

Greater data quality

As data governance aids in discoverability, businesses with effective governance programs also benefit from improved data quality. Although technically two separate initiatives, some of their goals overlap. These include, but are not limited to, the standardization of data and its consistency. One way to clearly differentiate the two programs is to consider the questions posed by each field. Data quality wants to know how useful and complete data is, whereas data governance wants to know where the data is and who is responsible for it. Governance improves data quality, because answering the latter makes it easier to tackle the former.

Unlock the full benefits of data governance

Although data is a differentiator and the benefits of data governance programs are numerous, several ongoing challenges prevent organizations from achieving their data-centric goals. To reach “data nirvana,” organizations need to free the experts from data burdens and empower more people to access and analyze data with confidence.

If you’re ready to ensure your initiative is as impactful as possible, then we encourage you to learn more about our data governance solutions, erwin Data Catalog by Quest and erwin Data Literacy by Quest, as part of the erwin Data Intelligence Suite by Quest.

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See for yourself why erwin has been recognized by Gartner, IDC and industry publications for our innovations, particularly in metadata management that’s foundational to mature and sustainable data governance.