Data governance is growing in urgency and prominence. As regulations grow more complex (and compliance fines more onerous) organizations aren’t just adapting data governance frameworks to drive compliance – they’re leveraging governance to fuel a growing range of use cases, from collaboration to stewardship, discovery, and more.
So how should newcomers get started? A quick search on “data governance” returns not just definitions, but also various “pillars,” “elements,” “phases,” and, of course, “frameworks” of good governance.
Finding the right data governance solution can be overwhelming. There seem to be as many data governance vendors as there are data governance definitions! But by reviewing the offerings of the leading 18 vendors, Forrester Research’s new report, The Data Governance Solutions Landscape, Q4 2022, can help you narrow your options based on core and extended features, size, and industry focus.
Data Governance: Not Just a Defensive Strategy
It’s true that data governance is related to compliance and access controls, supporting privacy and protection regulations such as HIPAA, GDPR, and CCPA. Yet data governance is also vital for leveraging data to make business decisions. At the risk of introducing yet another data governance definition, here’s how Forrester defines the term:
A suite of software and services that help you create, manage, and assess the corporate policies, protocols, and measurements for data acquisition, access, and leverage. These capabilities include data definitions, policies, quality, stewardship, literacy, regulatory requirements, ethical considerations, risk management, privacy and security, and end- to-end lifecycle management.
This means that data governance should be baked into your entire data management approach; it cannot be something occurring in a vacuum.
It also means data governance can be boiled down to a single word: trust. The report notes this trust ensures “continuous data discovery, consistent collaboration on definitions and policy implementation, and reliable quality standards. This sets the stage for data security and compliance initiatives and the ethical use of data and facilitates data leverage for business-value creation.”
In other words, it’s not just important to define what data governance is, but also what it does. According to Forrester, the business value of data governance is generated through:
- A strong data foundation to support decision-making and data literacy across the entire enterprise
- A balance of strong technical capabilities with extensive management capabilities to allow data governance teams to execute and manage their organization’s data strategy
- Maintaining security, privacy, and compliance while driving accountability and trust while leveraging data assets
The Data Governance Market: Evolution and Dynamics
The broadening role of data governance, combined with the expansion of data accessibility to a wider group of users, has driven evolution in the market. Data governance, says the report, is now “an umbrella theme covering multiple use cases,” causing a blurring of “the line between classical data management platforms and holistic data governance solutions.”
Recognizing this, data technology vendors have pivoted to become data governance vendors, keeping pace with customers who are increasingly folding data governance into their overall technology strategies — strategies that start with establishing trust.
The report assesses governance vendors by size and offering type for prospective buyers.
This report evaluates a wide selection of data governance vendors to provide context and help data leaders confront evolving market dynamics including:
- Data governance platform capabilities not only support compliance, but also support smarter, more powerful data collaboration, literacy, and analytics
- The need for robust data governance strategies and resources to satisfy corporate objectives while overcoming organizational, cultural, and skills challenges
- The impact of AI and automation, which power platforms to achieve data governance driven by and centered around metadata
An Evaluation of Leading Use Cases
In reviewing vendors in the data governance space, Forrester identified the following core use cases, citing what buyers most often seek and which are addressed by data governance solutions:
- Data discovery
- Data privacy and protection
- Risk and regulatory compliance
- Data integrity and quality
Data governance fuels key use cases, including data discovery, privacy, compliance, and quality.
Extended use cases — which buyers also look to address but are less commonly addressed by data governance solutions — include:
- Data democratization
- Policy management
- Stewardship management
- Data enablement (literacy and collaboration)
- Data impact and tracing
- Data governance management
Data governance is also fundamental to extended use cases like data democratization and stewardship management.
One thing is clear: data governance solutions are now an established market. The growing need for data governance to support so many use cases has undoubtedly accelerated the maturation of these products and the market as a whole. And the core trend, according to Forreser, is that governance is a key enabler for data-driven organizations.
The data governance market has matured, as products and services evolve to help data leaders pioneer more competitive corporate governance strategies.
Going forward, such enterprises must overcome limited corporate governance strategies as they look to unified governance platforms (with AI and automation) to help them harness the power of governance more effectively. A data catalog serves as that data intelligence and governance platform, which enterprises are increasingly embracing.
Learn More in a Webinar with the Report Author
Curious to learn more? Join us for Navigating a Shifting Governance Landscape on December 13, 2022. This webinar features report author and guest speaker Raluca Alexandru in conversation with myself, John Wills, Field CTO at Alation. The two of us will discuss the report and how data governance can drive value while mitigating risk, as well as the latest capabilities of data governance.