Is Data Quality the same as Data Governance?
Gautam Mane, December 7, 2018
Although often used interchangeably, data quality and data governance are two entirely different aspects that are interrelated in a way. Read more
The question in the title seems fairly simple. And the answer is an obvious ‘No, data quality is not the same as data governance’.
But the reason for the title is that a depressingly high number of people still use these two terms interchangeably, as if they were synonyms.
They are not synonyms at all, but what we can say with certainty is that they certainly do have a very close relationship with each other. One cannot exist without the other. Things will be a little clearer if we look at these two terms a little more closely.
Before we come to the formal definitions of the two, let us try and understand a simplistic explanation first. Let us say there is an assembly line in an automobile manufacturing factory. At various stages of the assembly line, there are people to check if the parts are being fit correctly. The different stages of the car being manufactured can be termed as data. In that case the quality control inspectors at different stages of the line can be said to represent data quality. The line manager who is responsible overall for the assembly line’s quality can be called data governance.
We use so much of data in everyday life, and organizations use huge amounts of it on a daily basis. But the organization needs to know the source of this data. Once it is sure that the data is clean and dependable, it must be also standardized to make it useable.
A simple example is the arrangement of data in a standard excel template before running a macro on the data. Unless these steps are taken, the data won’t be usable and useful. Data is a continuum and every day more and more data gets generated. So data quality and the processes related to data quality need to be an ongoing process instead of a one-time initiative.
That is why most forward-thinking organizations have a dedicated team for data management, who look into all aspects of the data and ensure that data quality is achieved.
As we mentioned above, data quality can be ensured only if a person or a team is dedicated to this work. An important part of data governance is the assignment of specific roles to different members of the team. The correct team needs to be put in place.
Data governance also involves setting up the right processes for maintaining, monitoring and auditing of the data. When an organization needs to ensure data quality, it cannot simply lay down the rules, put the team together and then let them loose. The team would need to be equipped with the appropriate tools to ensure data quality.