When a credit union is asked about the current state of their data governance program, the two most common responses are either;
Ugh - I know I should do this, but it feels overwhelming, and I don't know where to start
Yep - I know we are doing some data governance, but it is pretty informal
Perhaps it is the word "governance" that makes this topic feel particularly unappealing.
Regardless of where the obstacle lies, lets officially call a do-over and take a moment to lay some foundational knowledge around this subject.
What is a data governance program?
The mission of a data governance program is to give a formal structure to its data. It is also the management of data access, quality, and security throughout its lifecycle.
A data governance program traditionally has the following six phases
Policies & Procedures
Why is it important?
For the same reasons that a credit union "governs" their loans, a credit union should govern its data. Data is an asset and needs to be organized, prioritized, and documented to be audited and repeated. Data also needs to have policies and procedures created for best management. And let's not kid ourselves, this will be something that auditors will want to see in a formal state pretty darn soon.
Who from the credit union is involved?
At the highest level, every data user is involved in data governance. Specifically, key data stakeholders are the following;
Data domain sponsor/lead: A Senior executive who provides guidance and holds the ultimate responsibility for data within a data domain.
Data steward: The person responsible for measuring data quality, designing and executing remediation plans, and maintaining data quality standards within the business domain.
Data governance council: The group that has the accountability to set strategy and direction; this is usually the leadership team.
What are Pitfalls?
Not having a formal program
Lack of leadership
It's only data, so it doesn't need to be governed
What are Best Practices?
Start with the strategy first
Determine the benefits and success metrics
Develop member-centric use cases
Gain organizational support
Curious to dive deep into data governance?
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