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Data can be considered both an asset and a liability. Data governance plays a role in both of these views.

Data as an Asset

Data is a valuable commodity owned by an organization.  It can be used to

  • make better decisions
  • improve business functions
  • increase revenue
  • decrease inefficiencies
  • improve communication
  • expand customer base

Data governance improves the transparency of activities related to data. As a result of this awareness, employees save time by not duplicating work. 

Data governance also helps clarify the definitions of business terminology. So, employees across the enterprise understand each other when talking about data.   

Strong data governance activities are focused on identifying key sources of truth and using them consistently.  This ensures a high confidence in data quality and complete documentation of data processes. 

Data as a Liability

Data is also a risk to an organization. When misused or not protected, data can:

  • lead to confusion and questioning within the organization as to “what is the right data”
  • result in loss of customers
  • lead to fines and penalties imposed by federal, state or other governing entities
  • result in legal action
  • be an overall embarrassment to the organization and its administration
  • lead to a decrease of respect within an organization and amongst its peers