From data quality to data governance: An imminent path

Italy’s data governance experience is unique.

Italy’s data governance experience is unique. The Data Management Body of Knowledge (DMBOK) a reference for global data management started being contemplated in our country only a decade ago. Starting with data quality, specifically finance to comply with a series of regulations led by Basel and Solvency.

So far, good data governance principles were considered rather interesting or at best, an opportunity for a concrete initiative often interrupted to favor other priorities. But, the introduction of these regulation has certainly given operators an incentive in terms of awareness if the benefits deriving from the orderly data management and dissemination of structured government practices.

Introducing new information process disciplines in businesses involves using resources and long-term return of investment. Understandably, the regulatory push has been extremely effective leveraging the start of data quality programs. Still, data quality is a whirlwind: when it enters an organization, it naturally drags with it other data management perspectives and specially data governance. Effective data controls are impossible without any basic features; staring with ownership, semantics and lineage.

A fundamental step was quickly moving away from the physical data plan alone, managed by computer systems. Companies have begun adopting the principle that information assets represent concrete business value; consequently identifying relevant business data, calling it the way organizations call it, establishing a valid definition for the entire company and the role it plays in business processes. Above all, determining the link with physical data that represents it in computer systems. Only by knowing this physical and business plan connection and by managing all this information through a metadata system, it is possible to build automatic control systems capable of efficient and sustainable determination of business critical information quality level.

These are the first significant steps towards mature data governance; one many banks and insurance companies are now actively pursuing, not only driven by compliance regulations, but believing it can contribute to generating a concrete and perceivable corporate governance value. It is only the beginning. The natural osmosis with other market sectors and succession of risk-based regulations, data intensive (see GDPR) are rapidly feeding a viral process. Interest in these disciplines grows; concrete experiences proliferate, value outside of finance and above all at the service of digital transformation.

However, as they say, this is another story.