Zeenea Effective Data Governance Framework | S01-E01 – Evaluate your maturity

April 14, 2021
April 14, 2021
14 April 2021

This is the first episode of our series “The Zeenea Effective Data Governance Framework”.

Split into three seasons, this first part will focus on Alignment: understanding the context, finding the right people, and preparing an action plan in your data-driven journey. 

Our first episode will give you the keys on how to evaluate the maturity of your company’s data strategy in order for you to visualize where your efforts should lie in your data governance implementation.

Data is the petrol of the 21st century

With GAFA paving the way (Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon), data has, in recent years, become a crucial enterprise asset and has taken a substantial place in the minds of key data and business people alike.

The importance of data has been amplified by new digital services and uses that disrupt our daily lives. Traditional businesses who lag behind in this data revolution are inevitably put at a serious competitive disadvantage.

To be sure, all organizations and all sectors of activity are now impacted by the new role data represents as a strategic asset. Most companies now understand that in order to keep up with innovative startups and powerful web giants, they must capitalize on their data.

This shift in the digital landscape has led to widespread digital transformations the world over with everybody now wanting to become “Data-Driven”. 

The road to becoming data-driven

In order to become data-driven, one has to look at data as a business asset that needs to be mastered first and foremost, and then exploited.

The data-driven approach is a means to collect, safeguard and maintain data assets of the highest quality whilst also tackling the new data security issues that come with the territory. Today, data consumers must have access to accurate, intelligible, complete, and consistent data in order to detect potential business opportunities, minimize time-to-market, and undertake regulatory compliance.

The road to the promised land of data innovation is full of obstacles.

Data legacy, with its heavy silos and the all too often tribal nature of data knowledge, rarely bodes well for the overall quality of data. The advent of Big Data has also reinforced the perception that the life cycle of any given data must be mastered in order for you to find your way through the massive volume of the enterprise’s stored data.

It’s a challenge that encompasses numerous roles and responsibilities, processes and tools.

The implementation of a data governance is therefore, a chapter that any data-driven company must write.

However, our belief that the approaches to data governance from recent years have not kept their promises is borne out by our own field experience along with numerous and ongoing discussions with key data players.

At Zeenea, we strongly believe in adopting a different approach to maximize the chances of success. Our Professional Services and Customer Success teams provide our customers with the expertise they need to build effective data governance, through a more pragmatic and iterative approach that can adapt to a constantly changing environment.

We call it the Zeenea Effective Data Governance Framework.


Our beliefs on data 

Awareness of the importance of data is a long journey that every company has to make. But each journey is different: company data maturity varies a lot ; expectations and obligations can also vary widely.

Overall success will come about with a litany of small victories over time.

We have organized our framework in 3 steps.

Season 1: Alignment

  • RUnderstand the context
  • RGet the right people
  • RPrepare for action

    S01 E01

    Evaluate your Data maturity

    S01 E02

    Specify your Data strategy

    S01 E03

    Getting sponsors

    S01 E04

    Build a SWOT analysis

    Season 2: Adapting

    • RCreate your personas
    • RIdentify key roles
    • RSet your objectives

      S02 E01

      Organize your Data Office

      S02 E02

      Organize your Data Community

      S02 E03

      Creating Data Awareness

      Season 3: Implementing Metadata Management with a Data Catalog

      • RGet to know your data
      • RIterate your data catalog

        S03 E01

        The importance of metadata

        S03 E02

        6 weeks to start your data governance journey

        We have decided to disclose our Framework in three seasons. We will publish a new episode each week.

        Season 1, Episode 1: Alignment

        This first season is designed to help your organization align itself with your data strategy by ensuring an understanding of the overall context.

        What follows will help you, and all the key sponsors, identify the right stakeholders from the get-go. This first iteration will help you evaluate the data maturity of your organization through different angles.

        In the form of a workshop, our Data Governance Maturity Audit will help you visualize, through a Kiviat Diagram, your scores as shown below:


        Data Maturity Audit : important questions to ask

        Decision-making authority


        Is an organizational structure with different levels of governance (exec, legal, business, …) in place? Are there roles and responsibilities at different specified levels (governance committees, tech leaders, data stewards, …)?

        Data stewards

        Are the data stewards in charge of coordinating data governance activities identified and assigned to each area or activity?


        Have the roles, responsibilities and accountability for decision-making, management and data security been clearly defined and communicated (to the data stewards themselves, but also to everyone involved in the business)?

        The means

        Do data stewards have sufficient authority to quickly and effectively correct data problems while ensuring that their access does not violate personal or sensitive data policies?

        Standard policies and procedures

        The requirements

        Have policy priorities affecting key data governance rules and requirements been defined? Is there an agreement (formal agreement or verbal approval) on these priorities by the key stakeholders (sponsors, policy makers, exec)?

        Life cycle management

        Have standard policies and procedures for all aspects of data governance and data management lifecycle, including collection, maintenance, use and dissemination, been clearly defined and documented?


        Are policies and procedures for ensuring that all data is collected, managed, stored, transmitted, used and destroyed in such a way that confidentiality is maintained in accordance with security standards in place (GDPR for example)?


        Has an assessment been conducted to ensure the long-term relevance and effectiveness of the policies and procedures in place, including the assessment of staffing, tools, technologies and resources?

        Process visions

        Do you have a mapping describing the processes to monitor compliance with its established policies and procedures?


        Have the policies and procedures been documented and communicated in an open and accessible way to all stakeholders, including colleagues, business partners and the public (eg: via a publication on your website)?

        Data Curation

        Does your organization have an inventory of all the data sources (from software packages, internal databases, data lakes, local files, …)?

        Managing sensitive information
        Does your organization have a detailed, up-to-date inventory of all data that should be classified as sensitive (ie, which is at risk of being compromised / corrupted by unauthorized or inadvertent disclosure), personal, or both?

        Level of risks
        Has your data been organised according to the level of risk of disclosure of personal information potentially contained in the records?

        Documentation rules
        Does your organization have a written and established rule describing what should be included in a data catalog? Is it clear how, when and how often this information is written and by whom?

        Information accessibility
        Does your organization let everyone concerned by data access the data catalog? Is the data needed indexed in the catalog or not?

        Data Culture

        Global communication

        Does your organization communicate internally on the importance data can play in its strategy?

        Communication around compliance

        Does your organization communicate with its employees (at least those who are directly involved in using or manipulating data) about current regulatory obligations related to data?

        Working for the common good

        Does your organization promote the sharing of datasets (those that are harder to find and/or only used by a small group for example) via different channels?

        Optimizing data usage

        Does your organization provide the relevant people training on how to read, understand and use the data?

        Promoting innovation

        Does your organization value and promote the successes and innovations produced (directly or not) by the data?

        Data Management

        Collecting & storing data

        Does your organization have clear information on the reason for capturing and storing personal data (operational need, R&D, legal, etc.)?

        Justification control

        Does your organization have a regular verification procedure to ensure the data collected is consistent with the information mentioned above?


        Have anonymization or pseudo-anonymization mechanisms been put in place for personal data, direct or indirect?

        Detailed procedure

        Has the organization established and communicated policies and procedures on how to handle records at all stages of the data life cycle, including the acquisition, maintenance, use, archiving or destruction of records?

        Data Quality

        Data quality rules

        Does the organization have policies and procedures in place to ensure that the data is accurate, complete, up-to-date and relevant to the users’ needs?

        Data quality control

        Does the organization conduct regular data quality audits to ensure that its quality control strategies are up-to-date and that corrective actions taken in the past have improved the quality of the data?

        Data Access

        Data access policy

        Are there policies and procedures in place to restrict and monitor access to data in order to limit who can access what data (including assigning differentiated access levels based on job descriptions and responsibilities)?

        Are these policies and procedures consistent with local, national, … privacy laws and regulations (including the GDPR)?

        Data access control

        Have internal procedural controls been put in place to manage access to user data, including security controls, training and confidentiality agreements required by staff with personal data access privileges?

        Data Security and Risk Management

        General framework

        Has a comprehensive security framework been defined, including administrative, physical, and technical procedures to address data security issues (such as access and data sharing restrictions, strong password management, regular selection and training of staff, etc.)?

        Risk assessment

        Has a risk assessment been undertaken?

        Does this risk assessment include an assessment of the risks and vulnerabilities related to both intentional and malicious misuse of data (eg hackers) and inadvertent disclosure by authorized users?

        Risk mitigation plan

        Is there a plan in place to mitigate the risks associated with intentional and unintentional data breaches?


        Does the organization monitor or audit data security on a regular basis?

        Recovery plan

        Have policies and procedures been established to ensure the continuity of data services in the event of a data breach, loss, or another disaster (this includes a disaster recovery plan)?

        Flow regulation

        Are policies in place to guide decisions on data exchange and reporting, including sharing data (in the form of individual records containing personal information or anonymized aggregate reports) internally with business profiles, analysts/data scientists, decision-makers, or externally with partners?

        Usage contracts and legal commitment

        When sharing data, are appropriate procedures, such as sharing agreements, in place to ensure that personal information remains strictly confidential and protected from unauthorized disclosure? Note that data sharing agreements must fall in line with all applicable regulations, such as the GDPR.

        These agreements can only take place if data sharing is permitted by law.

        Control of product derivatives

        Are appropriate procedures, such as obfuscation or deletion, in place to ensure that information is not inadvertently disclosed in general reports and that the organization’s reporting practices remain in compliance with the laws and regulations in force (for example, GDPR)?

        Stakeholder information

        Are stakeholders, including the individuals whose data are kept, regularly informed about their rights under the applicable laws or regulations governing data confidentiality?

        Start evaluating your company's data maturity now!


        Our interactive toolkit will allow you to visualize where your efforts should lie when implementing a data governance strategy.

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        At Zeenea, we work hard to create a data fluent world by providing our customers with the tools and services that allow enterprises to be data driven.

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        Chez Zeenea, notre objectif est de créer un monde “data fluent” en proposant à nos clients une plateforme et des services permettant aux entreprises de devenir data-driven.

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        Das Ziel von Zeenea ist es, unsere Kunden "data-fluent" zu machen, indem wir ihnen eine Plattform und Dienstleistungen bieten, die ihnen datengetriebenes Arbeiten ermöglichen.

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