Data Steward

A data steward is a role within an organization responsible for ensuring the quality and fit of data collected by a company and organization, including the metadata for those data assets. It may share some responsibilities with a data custodian like data accessibility, retention policy, proper use, security, and data management. Data Stewards are also involved in the development and implementation of data assets. The Data Steward’s objective is to ensure the data quality of the data assets within an organization. This responsibility also includes providing and documenting information on metadata about these data assets.

Data stewardship roles are typical when organizations attempt to collect and aggregate data between data systems. Good data governance policies like master data management often reference the need for data stewardship for its successful implementation. In this sense, Data stewardship should always have a precise purpose, often coordinated during the execution of data governance policies and to comply with data regulation policies.

Data Steward Role Characteristics

  • It is a functional role in data management and governance. It holds the responsibility of ensuring that data policies and standards are applied.
  • They support organizations to exploit data assets to the total capacity.
  • They are data-savvy experts responsible for assuring quality and trust in data. They are tasked to set definitions for the organization to follow and ensure the coherent use of data assets across the organization.
  • Ensures compliance with changing data regulations to avoid legal or security risks.
  • Data Stewards are advocates leaders of data democratization and data literacy initiatives.

The Six Key Data Governance Responsibilities of Data Stewardship

Data stewards have six critical responsibilities in the context of data governance programs:

  • Define the data and identify assets within their domains, ensuring no conflict with other data assets.
  • They create processes and procedures to monitor adherence to regulations. These processes include establishing data governance policies and enforcing standards.
  • Ensure quality of the data using user feedback, internally reporting KPIs, evaluate and identify issues, and offer mitigations to them.
  • Optimize workflows and communications.
  • They monitor how data is being handled and support teams by sharing best practices in the use of data and provide insight into how data consumers can use it for better decision-making.
  • Ensure compliance and security of the data according to data protection regulations, as well as to inform about potential risk as well as offering regulatory guidance.

The data steward’s work begins with the identification of the data assets subjected to regulatory compliance. They work closely with business analysts to identify business rules, with data engineers and architects to ensure proper use, with data quality analysts and operations team members. As the volume, velocity, and variety of data increase, Data Stewards fill an ever-evolving role as data governance becomes more complex worldwide.

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