The terms Data Governance and Data
Stewardship are sometimes used
interchangeably, but there is actually
a difference. Data Governance brings together cross-functional teams to make interdependent rules or to resolve issues or to provide services to data stakeholders. These cross-functional teams - Data Stewards and/or Data Governors - generally come from the Business side of operations. They set policy that IT and Data groups will follow as they establish their architectures, implement their own best practices, and address requirements. Data Governance can be considered the overall process of making this work.
What, then is Data Stewardship? Consider the following definitions for stewardship, in its most general sense:
Stewardship is taking responsibility for the survival and well-being of something that is valued.
Stewardship is responsibility for taking good care of resources entrusted to one.
Stewardship is the science, art and skill of responsible and accountable management of resources.
Stewardship means to be responsible for managing property or resources; the individual's responsibility to manage his/her life and property with proper regard for the rights of others.
Stewardship is the practice of managing or looking after the well being of something.
Data Stewardship, then, is concerned with taking care of data assets that do not belong to the stewards themselves. Data Stewards represent the concerns of others. Some may represent the needs of the entire organization. Others may be tasked with representing a smaller constituency: a business unit, department, or even a set of data themselves.
An accountability-focused definition of Data Stewardship is "the set of activities that ensure data-related work is performed according to policies and practices as established through governance."
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