Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Data Stewardship Vs Data Governance

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How Important Is Data Stewardship

Ask The Data Governance Coach – What is data stewardship?

For any data-driven business this role is essential. You can think of the data steward as the quarterback of the data governance world. This means theyre holding together the definition, documentation, improvement and use of the data under their stewardship.

Without the right people in the right roles, you cant expect to win. Data is increasingly seen as a strategic enterprise asset. It comprises up to 87% of an organisations value, so we have to deploy resources to protect it.

The context of governance roles

You can think of this in the same way you might think of your finance function. The finance team handles the cash and monetary assets for your business. This means they put rules down around the use of this cash for example, expenses policies. You have people responsible for designing and implementing these checks and balances in order to maximise the return on your enterprise assets.

Our data stewards will provide the same level of assurance over data assets. This means:

  • Documenting acceptable use and privacy policies for data, which is essential under regulations like GDPR
  • Increasing trust in data, by defining its true meaning, and ensuring that data quality levels are acceptable
  • Documenting the provenance of your data. Where does data come from and how is it used across your business?
  • Preventing misunderstanding, which directly leads to improved business performance
  • Enabling the organisation to make better decisions, more quickly

Curricula For Training Business Data Stewards

There are a lot of topics that can be covered when training Business Data Stewards. Though they are all discussed here, you will want to tailor your training to avoid the pitfalls discussed in the last section, such as training too early. As discussed previously, you will probably want to break up the lessons into multiple parts and deliver them as needed.

Basic Principles

The basic principles around Data Stewardship are a good place to start the training. Much of the information in the following lesson headings is presented elsewhere in this book or can be extracted from presentations held at major conferences. Of course, you will need to customize the information for your own use and your own company. For example, if poor data quality is hampering your companys ability to do business and maintain competitive advantage, you will want to focus on that when you discuss why Data Governance and Data Stewardship are important. On the other hand, if data quality is not perceived as a problem but there is confusion about definitions, then the focus should go there instead.

The lesson headings for basic principles are:

David Plotkin, in, 2021

What Is Healthcare Data Stewardship Is It Different From Data Governance

Healthcare data stewardship often gets confused with data governance, but there are several critical differences.

While data governance refers to high-level organizational data policy and compliance with government laws and regulations, healthcare data stewards do the essential work of communicating and coordinating between departments and employees to ensure that the everyday work of the organization can move forward. They manage the data warehouse, which is the place where data can be stored, and implement the policies made under the data governance program.

They are the link between the IT department and the business office of a healthcare organization.

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Data Owners And Data Stewards What Is The Difference

by Nicola Askham·Published 22nd August 2019

My last article about how you identify your data owners stimulated a lot of interest, but also a lot of questions. One question in particular, I have been asked many times over the years is the topic of this article:

What is the difference between Data Owners and Data Stewards?

This topic does cause a lot of confusion. If you do some research online you will find many articles that discuss Data Ownership and Data Stewardship as well as Data Governance. This could easily lead you to believe that there are two or even three separate data management disciplines being discussed. To clarify the situation Data Ownership and Data Stewardship are important components of Data Governance .

I believe quite strongly that there is no such thing as a standard Data Governance framework. But I do believe that there are three key things you have to include in your Data Governance framework for it to be successful:

The three things as you can see from the image are policy, processes, and roles and responsibilities and they form a key part of my methodology. It is the last category, roles and responsibilities, which covers both Data Owners and Data Stewards

A few years ago I realised that there was a far simpler way: I now just write the detail for the Data Owner role and include words to indicate that a Data Owner may appoint one or more Data Stewards to assist them to undertake these responsibilities on a day to day basis.

Data Owner Vs Data Steward

Data Management vs. Data Governance: What is the ...

Given that Data Stewards are appointed to assist a Data Owner in implementing the Data Governance policies, there is a fair bit of overlap between their profile descriptions.

So What Is the Difference Between a Data Owner and a Data Steward?

A Data Owner is accountable for Data Governance outcomes, whereas a Data Steward is responsible for the Data Governance tasks required to achieve those outcomes. In other words, the Data Owner role is results-focused, while the Data Steward role is task-focused.

For instance, a Data Owner might be accountable for data excellence metrics, such as audit findings and quality scores. They may also be accountable for business metrics, like the impact of Data Governance on strategic goals such as the quality of customer data and the effect it has on the success of a direct mail campaign for example.

Does Your Organization Need Both Data Owners and Data Stewards?

Whether your organization needs both roles depends on the scale and scope of your Data Governance program. Large organizations most likely need both roles, while, in smaller businesses, the Data Owner and Data Steward can be one and the same person.

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Data Steward Vs Data Analyst

Similarly, organizations with data stewards expect them to work closely with the data analysts and data scientists who access and analyze data to unearth past trends, identify current patterns and predict future outcomes.

While all three of these positions handle data, data stewards are not the same as data analysts and data scientists.

Data analysts and data scientists retrieve and organize data in order to analyze and manipulate it to draw conclusions and insights.

They use data to produce reports on an organization’s past performance or current state, thereby helping organizational leaders make data-driven decisions.

Data analysts and data scientists also use data to glean insights about future outcomes additionally, they use data for predictive analytics, i.e., determining the most likely outcomes as they change and adjust different variables within the scenario.

Organizations today have to use data in order to remain competitive, with some industries such as banking and retail seeing data as critical to their ability to deliver services and goods. Moreover, some industries see their use of data as central to their existence. Health systems, for instance, rely more and more on data and analytics to ensure the best outcomes for patients. In addition, there are emerging fields, such as robotics and AI, that exist solely because of the data that fuels their movements. All of which makes data stewards an essential part of a modern enterprise team.

Streamlining Data Collection And Sharing

A data strategy can help you establish consistent processes for collecting and sharing data. Having established procedures means you can collect more data more efficiently, and that the data you collect will likely be higher-quality. It also keeps your information consistent and well-organized, which makes it easier to use and helps you derive value from it.

One way to make your data more shareable and usable is to establish rules for naming element data and representing data value. You also need a way to reference and access metadata. Creating a glossary of business data terminology can help with this.

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Data Governance Program Manager

The Data Governance Program Manager is responsible for the day-to-day organization and management of the data governance council and the entire data governance program. Typically, the DGPM will be a senior level person as opposed to executive level.

The DGPM must have a sound knowledge of both the technical and the business sides of the organization, but most importantly, have an expert level of knowledge on data governance, its best practices and have experience implementing successful, enterprise data governance programs.

They must be politically savvy to coordinate and guide the data governance council, lead the data governance specialists and be able to lead the data governance council to consensus across disparate groups within the organization. Also, the DGPM needs strong leadership and communication skills to maintain the data governance programs focus and organizational contacts.

It Support Through The Technical Data Stewards

Real-World Data Governance: A Different Way of Defining Data Stewards & Stewardship

The primary role of IT Technical Data Stewards is to provide technical expertise in support of the Data Governance efforts with respect to systems and application impact analysis for proposed changes and data quality issues. IT resources are assigned to this role officially by IT management and are expected to respond to requests for assistance from Data Governance in a timely manner as part of their regular duties. The Technical Data Stewards are often lead programmers, database administrators, and application owners, and their detailed responsibilities will be discussed in much more detail in Chapter 2, Understanding the Types of Data Stewardship.

David Plotkin, in, 2021

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The Key Role Of The Business Data Steward

Although there are many other types of stewards , Business Data Stewards are the authorities on their data, in that they know what the data is supposed to represent, what it means, and what business rules are associated with it. Business Data Stewards coordinate their work with many others in the enterprise, including the Technical Data Steward and business stakeholders. The stakeholders concerns must be taken into account when decisions are made about that data. The relationship between Business Data Stewards, Technical Data Stewards, and stakeholders was shown previously in Figure 2.1.

Business Data Stewards work closely with Technical Data Stewards and business stakeholders to influence the data along the entire information chain as shown in Figure 2.5. The partnership of Data Stewards and stakeholders makes it possible to manage the data as it flows through the enterprise.

Figure 2.5. Business Data Stewards work with others to manage the data in the information chain.

Uses Of A Data Stewardship Program

An organization may have a single data steward, or it may have multiple professionals working in this role, depending on the size of the organization, the criticality of its data needs, the maturity of its data program, its industry and its business objectives. Organizations with multiple data stewards may opt to assign them to business units or departments or to certain types of data.

Uses of a data stewardship program include oversight and management of the following:

  • enterprise data efforts and operations, including data lifecycle management, which establishes and enforces how long data is retained
  • data quality programs, including the establishment and use of quality metrics and quality detection and correction procedures
  • data privacy, security and risk management according to standards set in conjunction with the data governance program, the security team, the legal department and the risk function, including the implementation and monitoring of controls and
  • enterprise policies and procedures for accessing data, with the goal of ensuring authorized users have access to needed data at the time and in the format they need it in and in a manner that also ensures the confidentiality and integrity of the data.

The data stewardship program works in conjunction with the data governance program, the body that sets the enterprise’s objectives, risk tolerance, security requirements and strategic needs relating to data.

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What Is Data Stewardship And Why Is It Important

Data stewardship is described by DAMA International as the accountability and responsibility for data and processes that ensure effective management and use of data assets. According to DAMA, the stewardship of data can be formalized through job titles and descriptions, or it can be a less formal function driven by people trying to help an organization get value from its data.

Data stewards manage and oversee an organizations data assets in order to provide businesses with high-quality data that is consistently and easily accessible. Heres a chart from TUDelft with a thumbnail representation of the components of data stewardship:

Supporting Indigenous Data Strategies

The Ultimate Guide to Data Governance

Recommendation 8: Recognizing that Indigenous Peoples have an inherent right to self-determination, co-develop with Indigenous partners distinctions-based strategies to advance Indigenous data governance and institutional capacity. The Government of Canada should also work with Indigenous partners, who are the custodians of their data, to co-develop indicators and data collection strategies

Goal: determine data strategies jointly with Indigenous partners, respecting the historical relationship and Canadas commitment to honour First Nations, Inuit, and Métis rights

Looking ahead, Canada will build on existing achievements, continue to strengthen working relationships with Indigenous partners based on an approach of mutual respect and enhanced collaboration, and introduce new processes as required. This is an opportunity to advance a collaborative approach for data collection, sharing, and stewardship between Indigenous partners and Canada. It would also advance Indigenous leadership and governments capacity to govern their own data.

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Organizing The Data Stewards

Business Data Stewards are organized into a Data Stewardship Council, which works with the Data Governance Board, subject matter experts and stakeholders to make decisions about data. Fig. 4.7 shows the relationship between the Executive Steering Committee, Data Governance Board, and Data Stewardship Council. The Data Governance Program Office is shown across the bottom. The members of the Data Governance Program Office are recommended to be part of the business , and to report to the sponsoring business executive.

Figure 4.7. The interaction between the various levels of the Data Governance participants and organization.


For business functionbased Data Stewardship, the Data Stewardship Council is comprised of the Business Data Stewards representing the business functions. For data domainbased Data Stewardship as explained in Chapter 11, Governing and Stewarding Your Data Using Data Domains, the Data Stewardship Council is comprised of the Lead Data Stewards from the Data Domain Councils. The key point is that regardless of which way you set up your Data Stewardship function, the Data Stewardship Council is needed to provide a mechanism for collaboration.

David Plotkin, in, 2014

What Is A Data Steward And What Are Their Responsibilities

The role of data steward is broad, encompassing more people in an organization than their titles might lead you to believe. A data steward may wear other hats as well, integrating their stewardship duties with other positions.

The title of Data Steward often takes in other data-care roles, such as data corrector or data coordinator. In some larger organizations, these roles may be inhabited by a number of employees. In other organizations that are in the process of developing their data stewardship program, the role might only require a single person.

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Selecting A Data Steward

Selecting the right data steward is a very important job. Typically, data stewards come from an organizations Subject Matter Experts and data analysts from the business community. Just because a person is expert on the data of an organization, does not mean that they have even a remedial level of data stewardship knowledge. Therefore, new data stewards require significant training and mentoring to be successful.

Domain / Lead / Subject

Data Governance, Data Stewardship, Planning & Data Quality with Gemma Emmett

From the business stewards within a domain , there should be a Domain Steward. The Domain Steward is the central point of responsibility for their domain . Lead Stewards are usually first among equals on their domains stewardship team.

Domain Stewards serve on the Data Stewardship Coordination Group as representatives of their domain. In additional they attend all of the Data Governance Council meetings to ensure that the requirements from the meetings are fully understood since the domain stewards teams will be responsible for fulfilling them.

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Data Governance Technology Considerations

There are a number of significant considerations the data governance team will have to review and consider when selecting technologies. Again, we have worked with large and small organizations that have leveraged the data Playbook and MS Office products for multiple projects before selecting additional technologies. We have also worked with other organizations that have selected technologies fairly early in their life. The approach has to fit the governance processes and staffing models. We recommend the people and process before technology approach.

Data governance software capabilities are packaged into a product suite by some vendors, while other vendors market products individually. Thus we recommend that each organization consider the specific capabilities critical to enable the long-term success of their organization. The industry analyst top product may not fit the requirements of your organization.

Lets look at some of the potential capabilities to be considered for the data governance organization.

Organizational Control

OrganizationThe identification, standards, and communications can be achieved with MS Office suite and collaboration tools. Everyone has these tools so the incremental cost for data governance may be zero or may be a cost per team member.

Benefits Of Data Stewardship

Data stewardship programs help organizations in a number of ways. The benefits of a data stewardship program include the following:

  • improved data quality
  • clear, concise data policies and processes
  • more efficient and effective analytics programs
  • more frequent use of data to make decisions
  • improved compliance with data-related regulations
  • fewer errors in processes and decisions that are driven by data and
  • reduced risks around data-related security and privacy requirements.

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