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Governance Roles and Responsibilities

Who does what in a Data Governance program?

First, a group of individuals (or a hierarchy of groups) representing a cross-section of stakeholder groups makes a set of rules in the form of policies, standards, requirements, guidelines, or data definitions. (Or, they gather and align rules. Or address gaps and overlaps in rule sets. Or interpret rules. Or establish guidelines for how to layer rules on top of each other.)

This group of rule-makers may go by several names: a Data Governance Board, a Data Stewardship Council, etc. They may be self-organizing, or they may be called together by another body such as a Data Governance Office (DGO) that coordinates and facilitates efforts.

Next, Data Governance always includes a mechanism for resolving data-related issues. Issues are generally addressed at several levels, with a clear escalation path. A particular issue, then, may be resolved by an individual Data Steward, a Stewardship working group, the entire Data Stewardship Council, or the highest-level Data Governance Board.

Finally, the best Data Governance programs proactively strive to stop data-related problems before they begin by reducing ambiguity, establishing clear accountabilities, and disseminating data-related information to all Data Stakeholders. Such programs usually include a Data Governance Office (DGO) or its equivalent to provide alignment between stakeholders and to provide ongoing support to programs, projects, and groups that work with data.


Next: Processes and Alignments


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About Gwen Thomas

Currently the Corporate Data Advocate at the World Bank Group's private sector arm (IFC, The International Finance Corporation), Gwen Thomas is the Founder of The Data Governance Institute and primary author of the DGI Data Governance Framework. Gwen has personally helped build Data Governance programs at the Federal Reserve System, Sallie Mae, Disney World, NDCHealth/Wolters Kluwer, American Express, Washington Mutual Bank (WaMu), Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Wachovia Bank, Coors, and others. Gwen frequently presents at industry events and contributes to IT and business publications. She is the author of the book Alpha Males and Data Disasters: The Case for Data Governance.