All enterprises have an information management program for storing, transforming, handling and evaluating their data assets. They hire data governance services to oversee the whole initiative so that it remains error-free and productive. The governance team starts a data steward program to ensure that the whole initiative is run according to the specified policies and procedures. In this article, we are discussing the main responsibilities of data stewards in an organization. A stewardship program is essential for implementing the data management policy and making sure that there is better awareness about the initiative across the corporation. Governance depends on stewards to effectively monitor the whole program. Let’s take a look at the key duties that stewards have to discharge.

1. Defining And Implementing Policies And Procedures

Stewards are responsible for defining the policies and procedures for accessing and using various information elements. They are the ones who finalize the rules for authorizing access depending on the user’s need of a particular element as well as his/her role in the organization. They work with the owners to create an access control mechanism with proper checks and balances to ensure that requested information is made available to the correct entity quickly. A stepwise procedure is laid down for requesting permission and similar processes are finalized for usage of the elements. It is the duty of the stewards to ensure that all these policies are implemented across the organization. They make sure that all the staff members even if they are not connected to the data management program must access and use data only in the specified manner. Efficient stewardship is the key to effective implementation of the rules and procedures of the management program.

2. Creating Metrics For Data Quality

One of the major tasks of a data stewardship program is to create data quality standards for various assets. Stewards consult owners to finalize the metrics like values, ranges, and parameters for each element which must be maintained throughout its lifecycle. The collaborative efforts of stewards and owners are also required for developing suitable policies, procedures, and controls which will ensure information assets remain free from errors. Stewards constantly monitor all the processes of the management initiative to ensure that all the defined policies are adhered to by the workforce. They evaluate the elements on the metrics to assess their consistency through different phases of their lifecycle. Stewardship involves identifying discrepancies in the elements and notifying the appropriate user who will then take the necessary corrective measures.

3. Ensure The Protection Of Data Assets

Data is a valuable asset which needs protection from errors as well as breaching. Sullied or lost data can cause irreparable damage to an enterprise. All reputable EIM consulting experts insist on the creation of a highly-secure digital and physical infrastructure where information will reside. One of the key responsibilities of data stewards is to ensure the protection of data assets. They frame suitable guidelines and protocols for accessing, transferring, and using information within the organization. While defining appropriate protective measures, they have to also ensure that data is quickly available to authorized personnel. They have to strike a fine balance between easy accessibility and strong security. The introduction of privacy laws in various jurisdictions around the world has made data protection even more important. Enterprises will be held liable if personal data of an individual accessed by them is exposed without permission.

4. Maintaining The Integrity And Accuracy Of Data

The information needs to remain accurate and free from errors in order to remain valuable for the organization. The various stages in the lifecycle of a data element can be classified into 4 phases namely- creation, storage, utilization, and archival/ deletion. The onus of maintaining the sanctity of all the information through all these stages is on the stewardship program. Stewards work with owners to create a procedure for identifying and removing errors for each phase. Moreover, they are involved in monitoring all the processes to spot any issues. Their input helps the organization in improving the efficiency of the different procedures of the management program.

5. Provide Effective Training To The Workforce

The information management program cannot work in isolation. It may be the responsibility of a team but the entire workforce must be aware of the importance of the initiative. An ignorant worker can unknowingly cause harm to a valuable asset. Stewards are entrusted with raising awareness about the program as well as providing training to all the team members. They must document all the policies and procedures for managing the data assets. Everyone at the enterprise must be able to easily access this document. There are various technological solutions and processes which are used in the program. Stewards also ensure that all users are properly trained in handling these tools.

6. Running The Issue Resolution Mechanism

Irrespective of the efficiency of the program, issues are bound to arise at one point or the other. Stewards are responsible for spotting issues and ensuring that they are resolved through specified procedures. In case, a problem is not sorted out, then they must know when and how to escalate it to the next level. Governance creates the issue resolution mechanism along with the escalation paths and stewards ensure that the corporation uses the framework whenever a problem occurs. Efficient issue resolution is necessary for the smooth functioning of the entire program.

Conclusion

The above-mentioned major responsibilities of data stewards underline the importance of these individuals for implementing the best governance practices and ensuring that the information management program functions smoothly.