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Data governance is important, as is protecting the business, but 63% of data professionals said business growth takes precedence, according to recent research from Alation, a company providing data intelligence solutions.  As the economy continues to strengthen and organizations shift towards post-pandemic revival, the Q2 2021 Alation State of Data Culture report reflects organizations’ desire to capitalize on available growth opportunities.

Most data professionals care about growth and less on governance.

Above: While 63% of data leaders cite meeting or exceeding revenue goals, that number increases to 75% among those with a top-tier data culture. Top-tier data culture organizations are also more likely to exceed revenue goals (49%) versus 38% overall. (State of Data Culture Report, Q2 2021)

Image Credit: Alation

Generating revenue ranks as the top business driver of data and analytics initiatives. However, they are challenged with balancing their data governance strategy between enabling business growth and innovation and protecting the business. The result is that nearly all respondents (91%) are experiencing challenges, and nearly half (47%) say that it is very to extremely challenging.

This tension between data governance and empowering the business to use data isn’t new. For so long, companies would focus on the “defensive” role of governance, compliance, rather than the “offensive” to provide trusted data that empowers business decisions. Today, there is room for both the defensive and offensive sides to governance, yet it requires democratization of data and the right tools.

The Alation State of Data Culture Report provides a quarterly assessment of the progress enterprises have made in creating a data culture, the challenges they face in embracing data-driven decision-making, and the progress they have made in leveraging data to drive business value. As a part of its analysis, the report includes the Alation Data Culture Index™ (DCI), a quantitative assessment of how well an organization is positioned to enable data-driven decision-making across three key disciplines: data search & discovery, data literacy, and data governance. Enterprises are ranked low-, mid-, and top-tier based on how widely adopted these disciplines are across the enterprise.


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This latest Alation State of Data Culture Report leaves us with a few major takeaways as we fly through the middle of 2021:

  1. Growth is the top data and analytics priority.

  2. Data is required to support that growth, but organizations are struggling to effectively democratize data.

  3. Data leaders are caught in a conflict between democratizing data to drive the business and governing data to protect the business.

Read the full Q2 2021 State of Data Culture report from Alation.

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