What is Data Governance? A Must for Data-Driven Marketers to Succeed!

How’re you doing in your efforts to build a rock-solid MarTech stack and data-driven strategy for stellar customer experiences? Did you remember to document rules for how your data gets tracked and utilized by your teams?

This practice is called Data Governance. What is data governance? Like any well-run nation, a sound government is one that has a system of laws, checks, and balances for its citizens to contribute to society. The same goes for how data gets consumed, interpreted, and utilized throughout your organization. Don’t let your marketers, or even your technology leadership, take the data ball and run without the proper guard rails in place!

Data Governance: Best Practices

Where to start? Build a corporate glossary of basic terminology, so everyone is speaking the same language. You’ll also need another one for your data, including naming conventions for your database. Naming conventions even cover how these fields appear. Welcome to the world of “camelCase,” “upper CamelCase,” and “snake_case.”

You’ll also have a process for change management. Define how change requests get communicated back up to the governance team because doing everything “by the book” also includes being open to updates when good ideas emerge.

On a deeper level, you’ll also develop policies for data quality, security and privacy. With this in place, you’ll gain mission-critical expertise in handling the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) Finally, make sure this person, or department, is a very visible part of your organization. Have a stakeholder from this team involved in all your meetings, from marketing and sales to customer success, and the executive team. Typically, this is a role within your chief digital officer’s (CDO) group.

What it is not: The Field of Dreams

In summary, data governance is not a field of dreams model – it is not “build it, and they will come.” Please don’t merely buy software and send your team to an online “Academy” or “University” for teams to teach themselves. While this is a sound first step, professionalism is all about how you follow through on a great idea. You also need to have someone in-house who is an actively engaged gatekeeper for what gets tracked, how, and where it is tracked.

This person is in charge of articulating vital information about data to your teams consistently and transparently to empower everyone to succeed with your data.

For more information, check out the Data Governance Institute.

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