IT governance and Data governance are terms often used interchangeably. In fact, they are closely related and have a common purpose: to make the best or optimal use of the organization’s assets and create business value. Where they differ is in terms of what they govern.

All about IT Governance

IT is often considered a cost center for the organization, but it is an undeniably essential component for the business to function. And that is why good governance of IT is important. 

IT governance involves:

  • making the best use of the organization’s tech assets
  • ensuring that the firm’s IT strategy and investments are aligned to the business objectives
  • having risk management plan and processes in place
  • ensuring compliance

What falls under the purview of IT governance? Software and hardware purchases, network devices, encryption servers, database schemes and backup provisions, and physical/technical security to name a few. 

While a number of stakeholders from the ground up are responsible for this, the ultimate responsibility rests with the Chief Information Officer (CIO). CIOs use different established frameworks to achieve their IT governance goals. Here are a few examples:

Software and hardware purchases, network devices, encryption servers, database schemes and backup provisions, and physical/technical security to name a few. 

While a number of stakeholders from the ground up are responsible for this, the ultimate responsibility rests with the Chief Information Officer (CIO). CIOs use different established frameworks to achieve their IT governance goals. Here are a few examples:

  1. COBIT5, an acronym for Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology, is a framework established in order to give businesses a common standard to communicate about IT-related goals, objectives, plans, and results.
  2. ITIL or IT Infrastructure Library is a framework designed to standardize the planning, selection, delivery, and support of IT services to a business with the twin objectives of achieving predictable service levels and improving efficiency.
  3. FAIR or Factor Analysis of Information Risk is a relatively new framework that offers standards and best practices related to cybersecurity and information risk.

The interesting thing is that good IT governance is necessary for good Data governance. Which brings us to the question, what is Data governance?

Data Governance: A Quick Look

Data governance has had a long and exciting history. In its current form, it is all about managing humongous amounts of data effectively so as to glean information and insights from it. It involves:

  • Automation for smarter, less manual ways of collating data from diverse sources.
  • Connecting different, previously siloed sources so that the flow of data is transparent.
  • Easy-to-use, self-serve interfaces for the end users accessing this data. 
  • Merging of analytics tools with the data management system to make insight generation easier.

The stakeholders involved in Data Governance is a superset of those involved in IT governance: the board, the CIO, executives across functions, data stewards, data scientists, business analysts, and the IT team. Quite a few firms also have a Chief Data Officer (CDO) and Gartner predicts that this will go up to 90% of multinational corporations by 2019. 

Since Data Governance is an evolving field, there are no established frameworks here yet. If you are contemplating creating a data governance program for your organization, read these first: we have spelt out the common challenges you are likely to face here and detailed our 3-phase approach to data governance here.

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