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Putting Some "ahh" into Datahh Governance  

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

  1. Use Case

  2. Data domains

  3. Prioritization

  4. Documentation

  5. Quality

  6. 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?

Please plan on attending the 7.1 Power Hour data education session.

Click here to register.

Can't make it?

No worries, we have your back, click here to request an archived session.


Looking for an easy to read primer on data governance and how to leverage data at your credit union, please Consider Big Big Data/Big Climb: A credit Union playbook for leveraging data and talent to achieve revolutionary member relationships.

Written for credit unions by a credit union expert, this book has been hailed as a "must-have". The book cuts through techno-jargon and translates data transformation concepts into a playbook filled with real-world examples, assessment guides, and other tools needed to reduce member friction, analyze actual competition, and identify disruption to improve the lives of its members and gain competitive advantage.

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