Data governance is the practice of managing the availability, usability, integrity and security of enterprise data to maximize return. The challenge lies in how it must work, through collaboration between IT and business, and across business units. This challenge is one of implementation: creating the necessary communication, power sharing, accountability and joint investment.

In October 2012, an Economist Intelligence Unit survey revealed a clear link between financial performance and use of data, and found that 11 percent of respondents felt their organizations make substantially better use of data than their peers. But more than one-third of that group was comprised of top-performing companies. Conversely, of the 17 percent of executives who said their companies lagged peers in financial performance, none felt their organizations made better use of data than their peers.

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