Data stewardship is everyone’s concern

In this post, Robert Steiner expands the notion of a Data Steward (someone who has formal accountability for data in an organization) to extend to everyone in the organization:

My premise is based on the fact that everybody that comes in contact with data should have formal accountability for that contact. In other words, people that define, produce, and use data must be held accountable for how they define, produce, and use the data. This may be common sense, but the truth is that this is not taking place. Formalizing accountability to execute and enforce authority over data is the essence of using stewardship to govern data.

Steiner argues that everyone who comes in contact with sensitive data is subject to all regulations that govern its use. Steiner advocates for a “Non-Invasive Data Governance” program that formalizes that level of data usage accountability. In this program:

  • Organizations should identify people who have a level of accountability for the data they are defining, producing and using to complete their job or function.
  • Organizations should identify existing escalation paths and decision making capabilities from both a positive (how and why is it working) and negative (why doesn’t it always work) perspective.
  • Organizations should recognize people for what they do with data, and help them formalize their behavior to the benefit of others potentially impacted by that behavior.

This program uses the following Data Governance Operating Model of Roles & Responsibilities:

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