Data governance is not a technology or a system but a set of processes and the organizational structure that governs the usage of all data assets of an enterprise. It defines how enterprise information will be formally managed and ensures that the appropriate people representing both business and technology are involved in making decisions about definition of data, quality, control, and usage. It requires strong commitment, support, and enforcement from the corporate leadership for a data governance program to be successful. It is not a onetime exercise but a continual effort to improve data quality, control, and usage.

An initial data governance effort is required to define the processes, work flows, and the organizational structure. This is usually undertaken as a part of:

• An Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) program that provides a single view of the enterprise data assets • An MDM program that consolidates, integrates, and synchronizes enterprise master data • An Enterprise Architecture or Data Architecture program to define and catalog all business entities, their production and consumption
Since one of the primary functions of Data Governance is to monitor and maintain the quality of data an important driver for a Data Governance program is the implementation of Regulatory compliance programs that require the business to certify the accuracy of its reports.

A Data Governance program does the following:
• Provide a framework for definition of enterprise business entities that must be shared across various business units.
• Define the process and workflow for identification, reporting, escalation, and resolution of data related issues.
• Providing a forum for all communication related to data across the enterprise.

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