As organizations continue to look at data as an enterprise asset, the need to  put formal structure, policies, processes and people in place to protect and properly manage data assets becomes critical. One unique aspect of a data governance program is that it not only needs to be understood by those directly affected, but by the entire organization. This seems like an apparent statement, but there are a lot of pieces --  in addition to the data itself -- that need to be in place for a data governance program to be successful. 

A successful data governance program has a number of characteristics. One of the most important is that the program must be strongly endorsed and supported by senior executives, which will encourage enterprise-wide commitment to the program. With leadership buy-in, an investment can be agreed upon for monetary, technology and staff resources. The organization must also have a clear understanding of the direction of the data governance program into the future. 

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