Sunday, January 28, 2007

What is a Data Steward?

Data Steward defined:

The person responsible for a data standard. In this role, a Data Steward is charged by his/her Management to develop and maintain the data standard and to counsel Service personnel on the proper use of the data. He/she must: have a thorough knowledge of the subject matter of the standard, provide accurate and current electronic copies of data relevant to the standard, and weigh the pros and cons of comments received during review of the standard. He/she is authorized to defend or modify the standard as necessary in order to ensure its proper use.
Claudio Imhoff's definition and description of duties:
Steward - from Old English for "keeper of the sty", a sty ward.

Data Steward - Person responsible for managing the data in a corporation in terms of integrated, consistent definitions, structures, calculations, derivations, and so on.

Corporations are demanding better and better sources of data. The explosive growth of data warehousing and sophistication of the access tools are proof that data is one of the most critical assets any company possesses. Data, in the form of information, must be delivered to decision-makers quickly, concisely and more importantly, accurately.

The data warehouse is an excellent mechanism for getting information into the hands of decision-makers. However, it is only as good as the data that goes into it. Problems occur when we attempt to acquire and deliver this information. A major effort must be made in defining, integrating and synchronizing the data coming from the myriad operational systems producing data throughout the corporation. Who should be responsible for this important task? The answer for a growing number of companies is a new business function called Data Stewardship.

What is Data Stewardship?

Data Stewardship has, as its main objective, the management of the corporation's data assets in order to improve their reusability, accessibility, and quality. It is the Data Stewards' responsibility to approve business naming standards, develop consistent data definitions, determine data aliases, develop standard calculations and derivations, document the business rules of the corporation, monitor the quality of the data in the data warehouse, define security requirements, and so forth (see Table 1 for a list of the data integration issues determined by Data Stewards).

This data about data, or meta data, developed by Data Stewards can then be used by the corporation's knowledge workers in their everyday analyses to determine what comparisons should be made, which trends are significant, that apples have indeed been compared to apples, etc.

Just as the demand for a data warehouse with good data has grown, the need for a Data Stewardship function has likewise grown. More and more companies are recognizing the critical role this function serves in the overall quest for high quality, available data. Such an integrated, corporate-wide view of the data provides the foundation for the shared data so critical in the data warehouse. ...

Data Stewards are responsible for the following:
* Standard Business Naming Standards
* Standard Entity Definitions
* Standard Attribute Definitions
* Business Rules Specification
* Standard Calculation and Summarization Definitions
* Entity and Attribute Aliases
* Data Quality Analyses
* Sources of Data for the Data Warehouse
* Data Security Specification
* Data Retention Criteria
Crash Course on Data Stewardship:

Data Stewardship programs are implemented to reduce information technology costs and improve the value companies gain from their data assets. Stewardship programs focus on improving data quality, reducing data duplication, formalizing accountability for data, and improving business and IT productivity. An effective Data Stewardship program will rapidly improve the ROI from data warehousing and business intelligence efforts