Data Stewardship

As I was introduced by my colleague, I wanted to better understand the purpose and value of data stewardship.  So as with Governance I started with getting some definitions:

“the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care” – Merriam-Webster
Steward – “one who actively directs affairs” – Merriam-Webster

“data stewardship … focus on data quality issues, enterprises can optimize results of their data architecture efforts.” – Gartner

So this is a good stepping stool to now talking about it in the real world.

So a view is that data stewardship is the supervisory process of managing information necessary to:

  • support stakeholders who have "entrusted to one’s care",
  • ensure that the data captured and reported is accurate, accessible, timely, and usable decionmaking and activity monitoring.

The objectives should be to simplify and synchronize the data collection process, reduce data redundancy, and increase data accessibility, availability and flexibility.  To be effictive you need:

  1. data definitions (architecture, taxonomy, models, guidelines,…)
  2. execution of data collection following definitions as above
  3. feedback on execution (do I have it correct, in the right place, is it accessible to stakeholders)
  4. data assurance to certify and support data integrity (stakeholders need to believe).

So this seems to be a bit of a catch-all. 

But if the purpose is the careful and responsible management of an enterprises’ data, then you need to have the right view so that you can be actively directing affairs and providing value to the business.

  1. gboundy Reply

    The challenge of data stewardship or any kind of stewardship is accepting the value of the activity and allocating time to performing it. For example we are all the stewards of our own estate, but have we all taken the time to write a will?
    Tell someone they are the steward of a particular piece of data or metadata and the response will be a blank look.
    All documentation and metadata collection suffers from the problem of being necessary but boring. Therefore we need to look at how the act of stewardship, the act of documentation, the act of governance can be imbedded into the other activities we perform and become a by-product of those activities.
    Otherwise these activities will always fall through the cracks.

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