data stewardship

Data stewardship is the management and oversight of an organization's data assets to help provide business users with high-quality data that is easily accessible in a consistent manner.

While data governance generally focuses on high-level policies and procedures, data stewardship focuses on tactical coordination and implementation. A data steward is responsible for carrying out data usage and security policies as determined through enterprise data governance initiatives, acting as a liaison between the IT department and the business side of an organization.

Some organizations have created formal data steward positions, in many cases filling them with workers drawn from business units, while others assign stewardship responsibilities to employees who have other duties as well. A data steward might function as both a "data coordinator" who tracks the movement of data inside an organization and a "data corrector" who understands and enforces internal rules on how data can be used. Regardless of how the position is structured, an effective data steward maintains agreed-upon data definitions and formats, identifies data quality issues and ensures that business users adhere to specified standards.

A corporation may use a data stewardship program as part of its overall data lifecycle management effort and/or to help with data quality improvement projects. A data steward will often 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 quality tools, including data profiling software, are key technology components of many data stewardship programs.

See also: business-IT alignment, data-driven decision management (DDDM)

Contributor(s): Melanie Luna
This was last updated in June 2013
Posted by: Margaret Rouse
View the next item in this Essential Guide: master data management (MDM) or view the full guide: Building an effective data governance framework

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