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Archive for May, 2010

Data Stewards & Data Governance


A Data Governance team banks on its credibility to effectively handle data and ensure that the quality of data is flawless.  These responsibilities aren’t easy to perform, hence the need to make use of Data Stewards.   Data come from many sources – in the form of internal and external customers as well as 3rd party vendors and providers.  The amount of data gathered from all of these sources can very quickly become overwhelming.  This is where the role of the Data Stewards come into play.  Data Stewards are usually people that assume collateral duties of managing data in addition to their other roles (which could be doing any other types of tasks anywhere in the enterprise).

In some cases, the Data Stewardship group within an organization is composed of the Data Stakeholders themselves.  These Data Stewards ensure that data-related decisions are carried out in a way that doesn’t conflict with another person or entity within the organization.   Aside from technical skills, a Data Steward should also have a clear, crisp way of communicating issues and ideas and will be responsible for ensuring that any ambiguities in the data are removed.

Responsibilities of a Data Steward include:

  1. Data Stewards must see to it that the data being carried out doesn’t overlap any existing, contradicting data within the organization
  2. Data Stewards are always on the look out for possible errors in the structure.
  3. Data Stewards must help ensure that the data is error-free.
  4. Data warehousing is one of the key roles of a Data Steward.
  5. Data Stewards ensure consistency of data. They maybe one level below the Data Governance board, but these stewards also play a big role in data decision-making.

In a large enterprise, it is not sufficient that a single Data Steward is employed.   It usually takes a team of experts in their respective fields to come up with a successful Data Stewardship council.

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Data Governance Decision Rights


Decision Rights are a key concern when it comes to Data Governance.  They can be very hard to define since there are some considerations regarding data, specifically in relation to rules and standards, that must be addressed.

One issue that must be reviewed is deciding on just exactly who has the power to decide. Likewise, questions regarding when and how decisions can be made and conceptualized should also be settled.  Therefore, to avoid any inconsistencies, the Data Governance program must clearly define and document all decision rights. This documentation should also include those detailed and further information on all decisions made in regards to data. These decision rights must be defined very well to avoid any conflict, specifically when it comes to settling issues.

On the other hand, decision-rights for programs related to compliance are quite easy to identify. The executive level of an organization has the power to choose if they will follow a certain standard, law or regulation; of course, these choices should be in relation to the organization’s mission and visions. Although the executive level can identify which rule to follow, it is the duty of different Data Stakeholders to discuss and come up with a general decision on how their group will comply and follow these certain rules.

Other than deciding on which rule to follow, other decisions related to data-processes need constant concession and analysis from one organization to the next. In line with this, different sectors within an organization have a specific right to decide but should be a result of thorough discussion between different data stakeholders. For example, Data Architecture has the right to decide on how long the data field will be in the new system as a result of different ideas and opinions from its stakeholders.