The Role of a Data Steward in a Modern Enterprise

Gone are the days when enterprises just collected data. With the corporate world stepping towards “data driven decision making” approach, data has assumed an overwhelming importance as invaluable asset for making strategic decisions. In lieu of this, having a strong data management policy is of paramount importance for any enterprise.

To meet the new age business demands, data privacy and governance have become key pointers to ensure effective strategy making for any enterprise.  Right from understanding the market scenario to predicting consumer choices, a data-driven organization will always have an edge over its competition.

With more data being collected every single day, owing to the increased usage of internet-based platforms, especially due to the on-going pandemic crisis, an effective data governance program in place has become more of an inevitability today.

With a huge amount of data available, enterprises need to figure out ways to use it effectively and make the best decisions from it. Data governance will help modern enterprises in forming a comprehensive data policy that can be implemented at various levels to ensure cohesion. Although there are many “data owners,” the senior executives are usually responsible for data quality. However, they cannot cover the entire string of responsibilities.

In any properly defined data governance implementation, there is a specific role called “Data Steward”–this individual is responsible for ensuring that their enterprise uses the data of the highest quality. As data quality becomes integral to an enterprise’s rapid growth, having a good Data Steward can lead to gain competitive advantage.    

Importance of Data Governance Models in Modern Enterprises

Integrating data governance policy into an enterprise’s strategic vision will ensure that it (policy) is implemented at all levels. By creating and agreeing to common policies and procedures, data quality and consistency can be ensured throughout the organization. A good data governance program will have properly defined inputs and roles to be played by various stakeholders to ensure an effortless implementation across the enterprise.

Among these roles, a Data Steward is at the center of all the data governance activities within an enterprise; this individual plays a very pivotal role in ensuring an enterprise’s data credibility. 

Who is a Data Steward?

Typically, a Data Steward is a role within a data governance framework whose main responsibility is ensuring data quality. By definition, “a Data Steward is a person who takes a lead role in a data project; he takes the complete ownership of the data and works with the business to define the program’s objectives” (source: Experian-QAS).

Data stewardship is a very critical part of a governance program that requires specific skills, technology and processes in order to be effective. A Data Steward is responsible for data management and master data control initiatives. These data experts are required now more than ever due to increasing volume and complexity of the data involved. They take care of data management by building robust systems and are the go-to people in the case of any data emergency. The major responsibilities of a Data Steward include, but are not limited to:

  • Create policies and procedures: The key to any successful data governance model implementation begins with the creation of policies and procedures that can be implemented throughout an enterprise. A Data Steward plays a primal role in ensuring the creation and implementation of the correct policies and procedures that correspond with the objectives of the data governance program.
  • Ensure high data quality: Having a dedicated Data Steward who is accountable for data quality and credibility ensures high data quality and integrity.
  • Help employees understand the correct usage of data: Serving as a subject matter expert (SME), a Data Steward, using knowledge sharing, can help employees across the enterprise to understand the best practises of data usage and control.
  • Data Security: A Steward is responsible for ensuring data security, thereby reducing the pressure on the data owners, and spreading a confident atmosphere throughout the enterprise.

In any enterprise, Data Stewards are usually thought leaders and strong advocates of having data governance models in place. They will impress and insist upon the need of/for ensuring good data quality throughout the organizational chain. Their passion for data and its credible usage to benefit the modern enterprises in the short/long run makes them an invaluable asset in an organizational hierarchy. Any enterprise looking to begin a data governance program, must have a dedicated Data Steward to ensure the optimal flow of processes and data in the organization.

How Does a Data Steward Make a Difference in an Organization?

In simple terms, Data Stewards are responsible for data management and controls in any enterprise. They ensure that data is clean, robust and of the highest quality. Although most enterprises understand the various means of data, many are unaware about using this data in the most effective manner. A Data Steward can bridge this gap by defining what data is important and how to segregate and use it for the right purpose. They will also contribute to making your data sources more robust and enable you to trust the source of your data lake.

Data Stewards aid enterprises in the implementation of data governance programs, which are the key to better decision making. Having a qualified Data Steward can steer your enterprise to greater heights and ensure the highest quality of data driving strategic decisions.


As “data” becomes a focal point for effectual decision making, there is a higher emphasis on ensuring its quality. In addition to understanding the significance of a well-defined data governance program, enterprises should also understand the prominence of Data Stewards who monitor and “nurture” data to ensure its highest quality. The role of Data Stewards play in an enterprise’s success cannot be stated in words.

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Sowmya Kandregula

Sowmya Kandregula

Sowmya Kandregula is a seasoned Data Management professional with over 14 years of experience in the areas of Data Governance, Data Privacy, Data Security, Regulatory Compliance, Financial Risk Management, Metadata Management, Master Data Management, Data Quality & Agile Project Management.

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