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The Top 2019 Trends in Data Governance

Author: Tom Hoblitzell | | May 9, 2019

For organizations that deal with large quantities of information, a systemic plan for data governance is a must. Data governance is a term for the people, processes, and technology used by an organization to ensure that its data is available, high-quality, consistent, and secure.


When implemented correctly, data governance provides standardization, greater efficiency and productivity, higher confidence in decisions and forecasts, and improved compliance.

To see where the field of data governance is headed next, the Business Application Research Center (BARC) conducts an annual survey. This poll assesses how business intelligence professionals’ views on data governance (and other BI topics) are changing over time. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the insights that we can glean from BARC’s recent survey data.

1. More important for best-in-class companies

BARC asked survey respondents to rank the importance of data governance on a scale from 1 to 10 (with 1 being completely unimportant, and 10 being essential). On average, best-in-class companies gave data governance an importance rating of 6.5, while competitors lagging behind gave it a rating of only 6.0.

This observed correlation between data governance and business performance is a strong indicator that data governance can significantly impact your organization for the better.

2. More important in South America

The survey also broke down respondents’ views by region, finding that companies in South America attached the most importance to data governance:

  • South America: 7.2
  • Asia and Pacific: 6.8
  • North America: 6.5
  • Europe: 5.9

This finding is in line with another observation from BARC that organizations in the Americas are more interested in building a “data-driven culture.” North American companies rank a “data-driven culture” as their most important trend for 2019, while their South American counterparts rank it at number two.

Meanwhile, Europe is the region that sees data governance as the least important. However, we expect this to change in 2019 and beyond, as companies in the European Union become compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR enacts strict regulations on how organizations can manage, store, and use the personal data of customers in the EU.

In addition, the survey found significant variation between different regions of Europe. The UK and Ireland rated the importance of data governance at 6.9, while Germany, Austria, and Switzerland rated it only 5.6.

3. More important for larger companies

The larger an enterprise grows, the more likely it is to see data governance as important:

  • 2500+ employees: 6.7
  • 100-2500 employees: 6.0
  • Under 100 employees: 5.5

Larger organizations are more likely to have massive amounts of data, causing them to reach a critical point at which they see the need for data governance.

4. More important for IT users

BARC finds that members of the IT team are more likely to rate data governance highly (with an average of 6.4) than business users (with an average of 5.8).

The disparity here is likely due to IT users’ greater awareness of the benefits of data governance, as well as the need for tools and software for BI and data governance that are accessible to non-technical users.

5. More important over time

According to BARC’s BI Trend Monitor 2019, data governance has risen in popularity every year that it has appeared in the survey. From the 6th most important BI trend in 2016, data governance climbed to the 5th position in 2017 and the 4th position in 2018 and 2019.

Only three trends – master data management, data discovery, and self-service BI – now stand above data governance in the BARC rankings.

Final thoughts

Tech issues in 2018 such as GDPR and the Facebook privacy scandals brought more attention than ever to the need for good data governance. In 2019 and beyond, we expect to see more and more organizations recognize the need for data-powered analytical insights. Whether you fall into the categories above or not, every business can benefit from implementing best practices in data governance.

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