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Establishing proper data governance part 1: Laying the foundation

Buy-side firms can increase the odds of establishing the proper data governance infrastructure by setting a good foundation.

To achieve this objective, institutions can follow some simple steps:

1) Establish data governance objectives
Before a company works toward setting up the proper set of policies and procedures, it should sit down and figure out exactly what it is looking to accomplish. Companies in this space are struggling to overcome myriad challenges simultaneously.

They are making an effort to overcome growing costs and a need for increasingly sophisticated benchmarks. In addition, they are striving to keep up with a regulatory environment that is both highly complex and uncertain. As a result, many buy-side firms are focused on using data governance initiatives to obtain compliance.

2) Set up a data governance hierarchy
Once institutions have determined their goals, they should start working on creating a hierarchy of individuals focused on data governance. Firms can do this by figuring out who will spearhead the initiative, and also what other employees will be involved.

One good place to start is selecting a governor or key individual who will be in charge of these efforts, a data governance expert wrote in a recent CIO Magazine piece. Once that individual has been picked out, he or she must be accountable for achieving the data governance objectives of the organization.

Any organization that wants to achieve its data governance objectives must have broad support. Once the governor obtains this needed backing, he can create a governing council. This elite group can help by creating key policies and providing updates to the CEO and board of directors of an organization.

3) Establishing widespread buy-in
Buy-side firms must keep in mind that if they want to meet their data governance objectives, they will need to obtain the buy-in from people at many different levels of the business. They will have to get the senior management on board, and this will come in the form of an executive mandate.

However, having this is not enough. Institutions must also get their management and operational staff behind their efforts to set up the proper policies and procedures for their information. While these individuals may not have a top-level view like a senior executive, they are crucial to the execution of everyday activities.

4) Assessing risk
Another key step institutions should harness in getting ready to set up the proper data governance is conducting a risk assessment. This should include a thorough review of all potential risk exposures, so that a firm knows what is at stake. Developing an inventory of all possible threats is also very helpful to conducting a risk assessment.

Institutions should be sure to consider the past history of their data, including how it has been used for good or for harm, the author wrote. Companies frequently have this information available, it simply needs to be utilized. By gathering their data and studying trends, so they may be able to engage in far more sophisticated risk management.

Buy-side firms that want to set up the proper data governance framework can benefit from following the aforementioned steps. Doing so will give them the foundation to set up this set of policies and procedures.

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