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The Pillars of Data Governance: Unveiling the Critical Components

Data is the cornerstone of everything we do these days. Whether we are browsing the internet, driving our car, or even sleeping, we are generating and consuming data in ways that were unimaginable a decade ago. Given our reliance on data to navigate both our personal lives and our workplaces, a solid understanding is crucial to our decision-making processes, and to our safety.

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Data governance refers to the set of processes and policies that manage the availability, usability, integrity, and security of an organisation’s data. In this article, we use the example of a health care institution to explore the critical components of data governance that, we believe, should be at the heart of your data governance strategy.

Data Quality: Ensuring the accuracy, completeness, and reliability of data

How great does it feel when you call your health care provider and are greeted by name. Customer relationship management is precisely about building a personal bond between the organisation and its customers. Data is a major enabler for this by presenting your case to the call centre person and preparing them for your call.

Data quality is crucial for this, as much as it feels great to receive personal attention, you want to make sure the person has all the right information to suggest the most effective action plan.

Data Stewardship defines the roles and responsibilities for data management. With a robust data stewardship program, the organisation ensures the right data is available and usable when it is need.

Data Protection and Compliance: Safeguarding data and ensuring adherence to data-related regulations and standards.

The publication of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2016, had a profound impact on organisations, for instance, in 1 year roughly 65% of apps (or 1.8 million apps) on the Google Play store disappeared. Data adoption has dramatically increased since the original 1995 directive and the EU took the necessary measures.

When you call your health care establishment, you are now guaranteed that the data stored about you is the one that you have consented, and that at any time you can retire that consent (within the context of other regulations). For the provider it means that they need the right policies in place to make sure that they can prove compliance to the regulation by instilling procedures such as the ‘right to be forgotten’. This goes further down the chain as the medical practitioners must be equipped with the right training to observe the rules when, for instance, seeking specialist advice, while still sticking to doing what is best for their patient.

Data Management: Overseeing the storage, accessibility, and usability of data

Your hospital has at least four records about you on their databases: Patient Administration, Health Record, Laboratory Results, Radiology Results. It is a significant challenge to ensure that the data is coherent and secure, while also being usable and accessible when you need it.

Data management processes help organize the data lifecycle, from the storage of the individual transactions through to retrieval, transformation, usage, and deletion. The data manager works with the data steward to develop processes focused on the strategic and secure use of data.

Data Architecture: Designing the structure and organisation of data.

Designing for data is an excellent way for looking at modern digital transformation exercises. We have determined that data goes beyond the scope of a single department, and it should be everyone’s responsibility.

Enterprise architects are now considered to be data architects because their prime responsibility is to understand and construct organisations that are driven by data.

This involves building a blueprint for data also with consideration to future data processing requirements such as through artificial intelligence applications. Leveraging cloud platforms to transform and consume massive data in a scalable way while also breaking down data silos (be it departmental or geographical). Afterall, when you have an ailment, you want to get cured as best as possible irrelevant if you are in America, Austria or Australia.

The pillars of data governance are essential for organisations to leverage data effectively in the data-driven world. Although health care providers hold the most intimate details of our life, every successful organisation must implement solid data governance concepts to thrive. Financial institutions, lawyers, rental companies, and catering companies all have more information about you then you can imagine, it is their duty to use it to serve you better, as it is in your right to make sure they do.

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