Best Practices for Data Governance in 2023

Enterprises are generating more data than ever before, and the rise of data is creating a growing issue that many companies are ill-equipped to handle. While collecting data has not proved challenging for companies, making sure it is used effectively has been a leap too far.

Companies employ data analytics programs extensively, but this does not ensure they receive the right insights. Issues with data formatting, a lack of qualified data science expertise, and a lack of resources hobble even the most ambitious data-driven strategies.

Data governance is the key. More precisely, squeezing the most out of your data governance applications is critical to ensuring your data is always working for you. Here are the four best data governance best practices you must adopt right now.

Communicate a culture of data

Many enterprises face resistance to good data governance due to poor communication. Executives recognize the need for good data governance but fail to implement it due to resistance from employees. While the need for governance might be obvious to you, do not assume everyone understands the issue as deeply.

Always communicate the “why” behind data governance. Why should your company adopt good governance practices? Explain which business goals good governance will help you achieve. Better customer orientation and resilience are a couple of goals that immediately stand out.

Good data governance should be a community-led effort, with every employee contributing to maintaining and securing data. The legacy top-down approach of enforcing changes does not work anymore. You can create community-driven conversations by asking your employees to visualize your data culture in the future.

What does this look like, and what outcomes do they want to achieve? Conversations like these will automatically align them towards better governance, making it easy for you to install best practices.

Rethink metadata

Metadata, or data about your data, plays a critical role in data governance policies. Many companies hide metadata behind third party tools that need employees to open separate windows or navigate to that tool. Unfortunately, this creates a disruptive experience that gives rise to data governance issues.

For instance, employees might neglect to view metadata before drawing conclusions due to the inconvenience of using another tool. The best way to prevent such incidents is to integrate metadata into native browsers or BI tools. Embedding metadata like this helps you quickly figure out the origins of a dataset, its context, and its traceability.

Examine your metadata’s structure periodically as well. Over time, metadata tends to fall into disrepair, and this hampers any data scaling programs. Depending on the size of your metadata, a quarterly review should be a minimum.

A metadata management tool will simplify this task considerably. However, note that metadata management has changed significantly in recent times. Older metadata management tools do not prioritize collaboration and instead house information in siloed software. Look for solutions that integrate with everyday tools and offer end-to-end views of your data.

Embrace automation

Data comes in different forms these days. Some data is structured, but the majority is unstructured and needs additional formatting before you analyze it. There is an additional dimension to data these days. Data compliance is a major hurdle, and your data governance policies must account for how you employ data in your business.

For instance, are your data usage policies HIPAA compliant? Are they in line with GDPR’s needs? In the past, data governance was a manual task within companies, with teams manually parsing data and classifying it. However, as data usage has exploded and compliance needs have risen, manual processes do not cut the mustard anymore.

Thankfully, technology in the form of automation has given data teams the ability to overcome these challenges. For instance, your company can use bots to identify sensitive data and flag it for appropriate use. You can create custom formats and classifications for further use, simplifying your data governance team’s job.

If the amount of data you’re collecting is massive, consider installing a DataOps program that synchronizes communication between data owners and consumers in your organization. A DataOps program builds structures around the way you create and consume data, assigning ownership and responsibility throughout the data pipeline, much like DevOps.


Data is constantly changing, and consumer attitudes change with it. Consider creating a sub-team within your data governance function that tracks changes in the data landscape. These data champions can review data usage throughout your company and define best practices to ensure your data programs are up to date.

While setting up these teams will cost resources, they’re a great way of ensuring your data never goes stale. Your analytics programs will receive a boost, as will your revenues.

Data governance is an iterative process

Data governance is not a one-and-done solution. To extract the most from your data, you must ensure your data governance is constantly keeping pace with the latest changes in the industry. Many companies throw resources at the problem instead of identifying the core issues in their processes.

The tips in this article will help you install the right data governance program and squeeze the most out of your data.