Companies are more determined than ever in 2024 to improve their Data Governance (DG) programs, the bedrock that supports harmonized data activities across organizations. About 60% of corporate leaders have prioritized Data Governance; it remains a focus for chief development officers (CDOs) and is ahead of AI by 80% for data platforms and security practitioners. The drive for a functioning Data Governance comes from an interest in the return on investment (ROI) upon and following implementation. Recently, Europe levied some hefty fines, up to 17.29 million pounds or 4% of global revenue.
Investors have increased interest in looking closely at how companies govern their data. Moreover, companies need funding for their new data projects, such as those that support AI goals. Dr. Peter Aiken, an acknowledged Data Management authority and president of DAMA International, estimates that fixing poor Data Governance eats up 20-40% of IT budgets, money that could have been spent on new data initiatives.
In response, 62% of organizations will audit their existing Data Governance programs and then explore a mix of corporate Data Governance policies. These update initiatives will encapsulate more input from executives to back up trustworthy data with autonomy and federated structures for business units to have some independence and agility in meeting Data Governance standards in line with their work needs.
Evolving to Corporate Data Governance
In 2024, Data Governance will evolve significantly, expanding its scope beyond managing data accessibility and security. As defined by Tejasvi Addagada, corporate Data Governance will involve implementing a framework that contributes to an organization’s market integrity and economic performance.
While senior managers will sponsor and finance an overarching Data Governance initiative, the identification and execution of suggested approaches will come from employees. This reality means leaders will assess how different business units apply their preferred Data Governance frameworks and feedback about existing practices.
To ensure support for Data Governance, Bob Seiner, president and principal of KIK Consulting & Educational Services, advises conducting a best practice assessment to determine what is feasible. From this process comes a more straightforward plan for allocating resources, including administration.
In this spirit, executives will conduct data audits to connect Data Governance outcomes to firm profitability. Also, leaders will determine whether the data is critical enough to fall under current Data Governance practices.
This trend toward centralized corporate Data Governance will continue to gain momentum in 2024 and beyond. The increasing complexity of Data Architecture and the need for a unified view of data assets will drive greater consolidation of data access policies, implementing controls around using and protecting data, and real-time monitoring.
Shifting Data Governance Left
With the increasing centralization of Data Governance and a strategic focus on revenue generation, companies will prioritize a Shift Left Data Governance approach. This tactic involves implementing Data Governance and security measures at earlier stages before data is stored on the cloud.
Shift Left Data Governance, derived from a software engineering approach to continuously monitor and test early, will aim to simplify data security and improve Data Quality by standardizing data contents and formats upfront as data originates from its source.
Shifting security to the left offers significant advantages, including streamlined data access and efficient security. Both capabilities will help organizations meet the exponential growth in data consumption and creators.
Furthermore, by shifting Data Governance left, teams can proactively identify and address data-related issues early on. Data observability and reusing metadata to assign security policies and user access rights make this approach attractive. This approach can save time and resources in the long run if companies synchronize their critical organizational data stores.
Growing Comprehensive Data Governance Frameworks
Data Governance will continue to grow beyond a set of policies and procedures to a comprehensive framework that defines the details, who can take what action, upon what data, in what situations, and using what methods. This tendency will result in a continuous process detailing systems for guiding analyses on data activities, means for organizing project data, priorities for data decision-making, and assessing progress.
In 2024, fundamental building blocks for these Data Governance frameworks will continue to include data, roles, processes, communications, metrics, and tools. Determining the appropriate level of support from each piece will impact the governance effectiveness.
Chief data officers (CDOs) will explore new methods for establishing Data Governance structures to see what works. Their focus will target short-term objectives like compliance and a more mature Data Governance for new initiatives to gain support. With this concentration, Data Governance frameworks will become “more intricate with AI-driven tools assisting in enforcing these policies.”
Customizing Roles and Stewardship
As organizations develop and implement their new DG frameworks, they will activate different roles and gradually customize their structures to support DG objectives. According to Deloitte, this implementation is in the early stages.
Leaders will find many options when assigning data ownership, as multiple people and teams use and need the same dataset. Understanding who uses it and how presents a challenge due to limited information about work processes. To address this, Seiner suggests that data stewardship could take on different levels of accountability and responsibility.
Data stewards can work in specific operational, tactical, business, and technical areas. For example, IT workers may handle technical data stewardship when importing and exporting customers.
At the same time, subject matter experts provide tactical data stewardship through collaborative efforts to define and establish standards for a set of customers. Meanwhile, a salesperson from another team could take on operational data stewardship, responsible for profiling and monitoring the quality of that dataset.
While companies will demonstrate some flexibility in determining who is responsible for what aspects of data stewardship, formal accountability and decision rights will remain in place. The drive to deliver tangible results in projects and across the organization will keep role experimentation to a minimum.
Moving to a Federated Governance Approach
While 88% of data leaders believe that data security will become an even higher priority in 2024, surpassing AI, almost half of all CEOs prioritize growth. To achieve this objective, companies will aim to enable their businesspeople by expanding data access and streamlining their distribution and access.
Organizations will also utilize active metadata to get data lineage and context around that data. These feature combinations and increased support for Data Literacy will provide better insights from powerful data visualizations. Any improvements to Data Governance in 2024 will need to include these capabilities.
Simultaneously, companies will continue to decentralize ownership of data products. According to a BAC survey, 90% of participants found that applying a product mindset to data assets improved Data Quality.
With the growing prominence of data product thinking, a federated approach to DG is growing; 70% of companies plan to implement it. As each business unit or domain applies its own methods to meet centralized DG guidance, teams will come to alignment through data modeling, the documentation of software, and business system design.
Using Data Governance as a Service (DGaaS)
Organizations will face resource limitations to achieve results from DG, especially in unlocking business opportunities, dealing with complex data architectures, and maintaining compliance. The complexity can be overwhelming.
To address these challenges, companies will turn to Data Governance as a Service (DGaaS) in 2024. DGaaS enables organizations to establish effective Data Governance within budget. Consequently, the marketplace will witness an expansion of DGaaS options.
For example, when corporations purchase third-party data to enhance their existing datasets, they may pay an additional fee to ensure that data is governed upon delivery. Cloud adoption makes this kind of service feasible. Other governance capabilities organizations will consider outsourcing include:
- Classifying and mapping existing data
- Storing data with a cloud-based platform that integrates well with automated tools
- Conducting data observability to streamline data movement
- Creating a comprehensive Data Governance framework, leveraging expertise and experience
While businesses will be tempted to cut costs and take a DIY approach to DG, the risks will become too significant. DIY approaches often lack the comprehensive security protocols and expertise that professional Data Governance provides, leading to data breaches and other security threats. Importantly, as cyberattacks and enforcement of data regulations accelerate in 2024, organizations will recognize the value of DGaaS and turn to it for enhanced data protection and compliance.
Organizations desire to see a return on investment (ROI) from their Data Governance (DG) programs and to allocate their financial resources wisely. Consequently, they will conduct audits and update their DG initiatives in 2024.
In this process, many companies will consider adopting some sort of central but federated DG approach. In this model, the C-Suite finances DG and signs off on overarching frameworks, allowing business units autonomy in meeting corporate DG mandates.
CDOs will ensure a comprehensive governance framework to determine effectiveness. Different individuals will take on specific stewardship responsibilities for datasets, ensuring proper management and accountability.
In 2024, businesses will face a complex landscape encompassing data compliance and enablement. To navigate this environment, organizations will increasingly turn to Data Governance as a Service (DGaaS) and outsource certain governance activities. These emerging trends promise to offer organizations a better DG experience at a reasonable cost.