Data Governance FAQ

Data governance (DG) is a component of data management that focuses on managing access, use, quality and security of enterprise data. Data management in a data governance program is based on internal policies established at the organization, as well as external laws (i.e. FERPA, HIPAA, GDPR, etc.).

Everyone within an organization that interacts with data is responsible for the proper access, usage, storage, archiving and disposal of enterprise data. 

The members of the Data Governance Committee are responsible for the design, implementation and maintenance of the enterprise-wide Data Governance Program, with the assistance of sub-committees, councils, and individual program roles (i.e. subject matter experts, data stewards, etc).


An effective data governance program will improve completeness, accuracy, and consistency of enterprise data. It will streamline access to data for daily operations as well as for organizational decision-making. It will improve data literacy, data analytics and understanding of business processes across the organization. It can improve financial performance and minimize risk of data misuse or mismanagement.

Data governance has numerous benefits (listed above) that should encourage any institution to implement a data governance program; however, one of the most important reasons to implement data governance is the protection of data and ensuring regulatory compliance. This is key for both minimizing risks and reducing operational costs.

All enterprise data is subject to be governed by a data governance program; however, different data elements from different areas of the organization will be managed differently depending on the internal policies and external laws that apply to that specific data. For instance, data that is classified as personally-identifiable information (PII) will be managed and controlled differently than room capacity data. 

The CWRU Data Governance Program will focus on all university business data collected and maintained by Case Western Reserve University, that includes student, faculty, staff, clinic and administrative data (i.e. human resources, financial, advancement, research administration, etc.). At this time, the guidelines and policies established for the enterprise by the Data Governance Committee will not impact or inform collection and maintenance of funded and unfunded research program data. The committee hopes to create tools and suggestions for best practices in managing research data at a future date after enterprise policies have been established.

Technology - Specific tools are used to manage data glossaries, DG workflow, data access, data quality and data lineage mapping. Here we use a combination of tools for our DG program implementation, such as an Amazon Web Services (AWS) data lake for merging data, Collibra for finding, understanding, and mapping data, and Tableau for reporting and sharing data.

Processes - These include formal policies that are established at the organizational level as well as business processes that align with the technology, Collibra, for the implementation of the DG program. 

People - A DG program takes engagement from all areas and levels of the organization, including executive sponsors, DG committee chairs, members and subcommittees, DG roles and stewardship teams, as well as the end users that access, store and dispose of data adherent to the policies of the DG program.

Data - The only way to govern enterprise data is by better understanding the data that is collected, stored and maintained at the university. This includes understanding what data elements are stored in what systems and how that data moves from one system to another. Additionally, since many academic programs have specific accreditation requirements, data elements with the same name may have different definitions. The design and implementation of a DG program will focus on the inventory and literacy of our enterprise data to yield the maximum value for our institutional success.

Please check back with this website for more information about the Data Governance Program as it gets updated regularly. Or subscribe to our CampusGroup site ( for monthly email updates on committee progress.

If you are interested in working with the data governance committee in some way, please feel free to email with your interest and role on campus.

No, this does not mean data will become available to stakeholders that should not have access to it. While the DG program seeks to enhance access, data remains accessible only to those with a legitimate business need for the data. The DG program helps streamline role-based access to data elements across the institution.

The DG Committee will identify and monitor metrics throughout the design, implementation and maintenance of the DG program. Initially, these metrics will focus on engagement and participation of staff in the program and shift to metrics that monitor data completeness, integrity and compliance.