Data stewardship is the management and oversight of corporate data by designated personnel who typically don't "own" the data but are responsible for tasks such as developing common data definitions and identifying data quality issues. Data stewards also function in an active role to carry out data usage and security policies as determined through enterprise data governance initiatives. Corporations use data stewardship programs as part of overall data lifecycle management efforts and to help accomplish data quality improvement projects.
While data governance generally focuses on high-level policies and procedures, data stewardship focuses on tactical coordination and implementation, with the work of data stewards requiring strong business-IT alignment to be successful.
Effective data stewardship provides accurate and consistent data across an organization. Data stewards document agreed-upon data definitions and formats and ensure that business users adhere to specified standards. They collaborate with data architects, business intelligence developers, extract, transform and load (ETL) designers, business data owners and others to uphold data consistency and data quality metrics.
Data stewards can come from either the IT department or business units. They often act as liaisons between IT and the business side, functioning both as "data coordinators" who track the movement of data inside an organization and "data correctors" who understand and enforce internal rules on how data can be used. Some organizations have created formal data steward positions, while others assign stewardship responsibilities to workers who have other duties as well.
Data quality tools, including data profiling software, are key technology components of many data stewardship programs.