Understanding the role of a Data Steward in Data Management

Data is core to analytics and a good data governance is part of the analytical framework of a company. Data governance helps maintain quality, consistency and good workflow of data, for effective return on assets. Every company today recognizes the importance of having a smooth and effective data governance in place.

Companies cannot have a general or all-inclusive policy for data management as data requirements differ from one organization to another. With data management emerging as a discipline that calls for an in-depth knowledge of company policies and business environment, data stewardship has become a newly defined area within an organization.

Data Stewardship

Data stewardship is the new jargon for the management of an organisation’s data assets. It is an all-inclusive term for ensuring access to high quality data in a consistent manner. Data stewardship has become a critical part of Business Intelligence, focusing not only on data management but also on policies and procedures related to data usage and security.

Increasingly, companies are adopting a comprehensive a data stewardship program as part of the overall data lifecycle management initiative. This recognises the critical role of data in the analytical process of an organization. Data stewardship thus ensures that business rules are applied correctly to the data structure environment, and improvises from project to project.

The Data Steward

Techopedia defines the Data Steward as

“a job role that involves planning, implementing and managing the sourcing, use and maintenance of data assets in an organization.”

“Data Stewards enable an organization to take control and govern all the types and forms of data and their associated libraries or repositories.”

The Data Steward understands the business domain, database/warehouse administration, the company’s IT infrastructure to ensure an “enterprise-wide data governance.”

What does a Data Steward do?

The role of the data steward differs for organisations. It may be formally defined, or have an informal all-encompassing role that coordinates between the IT department, data users and management. This means that data stewards need to have expert knowledge of business processes and the use of data within those processes.

Roles of a Data Steward

  • To map the data needs of the business
  • To drive the data guidelines and workflows
  • Identify and acquire data in alignment with the organisation needs
  • To design appropriate data usage guidelines to limit collection of unnecessary data
  •  To audit data practices for business compliance
  • Analyse data for quality, consistency, access and reconciliation
  • Define data vendor requirements of the organization and participate in evaluation process for ensuring data consistency and quality
  • Define and maintain data elements, categorise data
  • Resolving data integrity issues across stakeholders.

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