What is Data Steward and Why is it Important?


Data stewardship plays a functional role in the data management and governance of a company’s data assets to assist in providing business users with high-quality data. It involves building and maintaining the policies, procedures, and systems necessary to ensure that data is accurate, secure, and accessible to those who need it.

Data stewards are individuals or teams responsible for overseeing the quality, accuracy, and security of data within an organization. They work closely with data users, such as analysts, researchers, and decision-makers, to ensure that data is used appropriately and in accordance with legal and ethical guidelines.

Components of Data Stewardship

The key components of data stewardship include:

  • Data governance: Establishes the policies and procedures for managing data.
  • Data quality: Ensures that data is accurate, consistent, and complete.
  • Data security: Protects data from unauthorized access, theft, or misuse.

Effective data stewardship requires a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach involving organizational stakeholders, such as IT, legal, compliance, and business units. In addition, it is essential to ensure that organizations can use data to make informed decisions while protecting the privacy and rights of individuals whose data is being collected and used.

Why is Data Steward Important?

Data steward works in the background and helps build systems to ensure that the information across an organization remains up-to-date and accurate, improving efficiencies.

They act as a medium for a company’s data management. It builds a sense of trust and security for the data with employees as data stewards create a more data-based culture and advocate for the effective use of and attention to data. Over time, with brilliant data stewards in place, people use their company’s data regularly to do better at their jobs.

The benefits of data stewardship can add up instantly. However, for some organizations, the prompt need for a data steward often remains unclear, as the hard ROI value of the data is not easily quantifiable.

Data Stewards Roles and Responsibilities

A data steward’s roles and responsibilities often vary depending upon the maturity of the data program within a company. However, some key data steward responsibilities include:

  1. Define the data: This is done to identify assets within their data domains. It helps to check there isn’t any conflict with other data components.

  2. Create processes and procedures: Including access and controls to monitor adherence. It involves building internal standards and policies and practicing those policies.

  3. Ensuring data accuracy and quality: Data stewards are responsible for ensuring that data is accurate, consistent, and complete. This is important because inaccurate data can lead to poor decision-making and costly errors.

  4. Protecting data security: It helps to protect data from unauthorized access, theft, or misuse. This is important because data breaches can have severe consequences for organizations, such as financial losses, reputational damage, and legal liabilities.

  5. Ensuring compliance with regulations: This is crucial because failure to comply with regulations can result in fines, legal penalties, and damage to an organization’s reputation.

  6. Maximizing data value: Data stewards work closely with data users to ensure that data is available and accessible to those who need it. This is so as data is a valuable asset that can help organizations make informed decisions and gain a competitive advantage.

Understanding Master Data Management (MDM) Data Stewardship

Master Data Management (MDM) identifies, defines, and manages an organization’s critical data to ensure consistency, accuracy, and completeness across all applications and systems. MDM provides a single source of truth for essential data such as customer, product, or supplier information.

MDM involves creating and managing a master data repository containing authoritative, consistent, and complete data records used across an organization. The master data records are maintained and updated through standard procedures, governance, and data stewardship. MDM plays a critical role in data modernization to ensure that the data is accurate, consistent, up-to-date and reflects the latest information across an organization’s entire ecosystem.

Why is MDM so Important?

Besides helping a company make effective decisions and answer key questions, MDM has the following key benefits.

  1. Improved data quality: MDM helps organizations ensure that the data they use is accurate, consistent, and complete, reducing errors and redundancies that improve decision-making.

  2. Better data governance: MDM provides a framework for establishing and enforcing data governance policies and procedures across an organization that ensures compliance with regulatory requirements and other standards.

  3. Increased efficiency: MDM can help organizations to eliminate duplicate data and reduce the time and effort required to maintain data across different systems and applications. MDM helps to speed up and automate end-to-end business scenarios like source to pay, lead to cash, and design to operate.

  4. Enhanced customer experience: It helps create a single view of the customer, providing a more personalized and consistent customer experience.

  5. Improved analytics: It acts as a foundation for accurate and consistent reporting and analysis, which can help organizations to identify trends, opportunities, and risks; and make data-driven decisions.

Steps to Create a Winning Master Data Management Strategy

A modern MDM strategy involves best practices, technologies, and tools to ensure all employees have trust and confidence in the quality of data-driven insights and the speed to act upon them. Some techniques to create a winning strategy are:

  • Design a data governance framework: MDM practices should be performed and used per data governance principles and guidelines to ensure data compliance and stewardship.

  • Use artificial intelligence and machine learning: Few vendors provide MDM tools and software that use these functions to automate matching new records with the current records and reconciling them.

  • Handle several domains in one instance: Solutions like product master data or customer master data focus on handling only one domain. However, the best software can manage and integrate an organization’s domains in one system- sometimes in the cloud. It helps to reduce costs, supports flexible use cases, and helps staff to be highly productive.

  • Manage master data in the cloud: Cloud platforms help to improve efficiency and productivity by enabling data from various applications to be brought together, merged, matched, and cleansed- easily, quickly, and at scale. They also provide automated updates and robust security.

  • Integrate data governance and master data management: By integrating a single source of master data with centralized data governance in one solution, it is easy to establish guidelines and compliance- and explain, monitor, and validate company policies and master data attributes.


Data is significant for empowering digital business processes, and master data management serves as a foundation upon which all other data depends. Companies with consistent and accurate master data are more effectively positioned to grow and lead. Data stewardship ensures that data management practices adhere to established business goals. Critical and creative thinking helps to do so, focusing on positively impacting the enterprise’s use of data, protection, and progress.


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