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3 Keys to Establishing a Solid Data Governance Foundation


Hello, welcome and thanks for taking a look at my blog!

Since you clicked here, I am assuming you have at least a passing interest in the practice of Governance as undertaken by business organizations. Obviously, since I am posting this, I also am interested in Governance, but, through my experience with a variety of organizations, it seems to me that Governance means different things to different people. There may not be huge differences, but often there is enough to cause confusion and challenges in actually instituting a Governance Practice within the enterprise.

So, I thought I would offer my perspective on what Governance is and how it fits in. Hopefully, you’ll find this helpful if it’s something in which you become involved in the future or you’re already involved and just looking for more information. I welcome any and all feedback as to your thoughts on all my posts, so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

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This will be an on-going series of posts as I want to address only one thing at a time, both to keep these posts relatively short and to maintain focus on a single aspect at a time of the practice of Governance within an organization.

First and foremost, I thought I’d tackle our terms, what I call the Building Blocks for the conversation. This is important because it is the use (and misuse) of many of these terms that results in both confusion and loss of effectiveness when implementing or executing a Governance Program. So, I want to establish some definitions up-front that will form the basis for succeeding posts and provide a framework for you to understand where I’m coming from.

The primary goal for the next few posts will be to distinguish and separate concepts that often get inter-changed. I’m a strong believer in being clear, succinct and consistent in the use of our language because it is the misuse or misapplication of terms that causes the greatest confusion in communications. We all do it, and admittedly it is often harmless in conversations because of the ability of the human mind to interpret and apply context to understand the intended meaning. But, when you need to get a large group of people “on the same page” through various forms of communication (both written and verbal), consistency and clarity of language becomes paramount.

The next few posts will therefore address what I believe are the key concepts to be distinguished from each other:

  • Governance vs. Management
  • Data vs. Information
  • Strategy vs. Tactic

This will then allow us to define the overall concept of what a Governance Program is and how it fits into a business.

I should probably also mention that this is about Information/Data Governance (which you may have already deduced.) So, although the underlying concepts apply to whatever is being governed (IT, Programs, Business, Nations, etc.), I will only be talking about the application to an enterprise’s information.

I hope you’ll join me in this journey as we first tackle Governance vs. Management in the next post. See you there and thanks for reading!

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Mark Steinbacher

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