Data stewards hold the key to efficient implementation of the governance policies and procedures. Enterprises have to ensure that strategic data steward ship is a part of their information management plan. The foundation is laid through a coherent data steward training program which prepares the chosen personnel for their roles. The stewards are responsible for executing the specified procedures for maintaining data quality as well as taking remedial measures, whenever the need arises. Organizations must ensure that stewardship is an integral part of their overall data governance training initiative. Some valuable suggestions are being presented which can be used by businesses to strategically implement data stewardship. Let’s take a look at them.
1. Understand The Organization Before Executing The Program
It will be pertinent to understand the structure and functioning of an organization before moving ahead with implementing the stewardship program. There are best practices related to the domain but they need to be customized to fit in seamlessly with the environment of the company. The team saddled with the responsibility of executing the program must identify the sectors as well as the major data sets that need to be governed. Comprehensive discussions must be held with the main executives of each business sector to zero in on the vital information assets. Some processes for managing and analyzing information will already be operational at the company. These exercises must be studied to find data elements which hold importance for the corporation. Some of these processes or applications can be made a part of the new information management program. Moreover, it is necessary to know about the work culture and the operational structure of the company for the smooth execution of the whole initiative.
2. Create A Holistic Model For Stewardship
The traditional way to assign stewardship roles is to make stewards responsible for specific information elements. For instance, an organization can appoint a person for overseeing all the data related to vendors. Another strategy is to assign stewardship for a function such as production, finance, marketing etc. These functions can generate as well as consume information that will consist of numerous data sets. Enterprises must strike the right balance and create a strategy that is a mixture of both the approaches. People handling specific data sets will begin to have a deeper understanding of the elements. On the other hand, stewards appointed for overseeing the processes as well as the information associated with a business function will know the proper context in which the data sets will be used. This holistic approach will ultimately help the organization in having a much better and in-depth understanding of the information assets as well as the policies and procedures framed for their management.
3. Assign Dedicated Resources For The Initiative
Another major aspect of designing and implementing a strategic data stewardship program is to know whether new posts need to be created for the purpose or additional responsibilities can be assigned to existing personnel. Organizations which are operation alizing the data governance initiative for the first time must appoint full-time stewards. Having professionals working solely towards improving and maintaining data quality will be better rather than training people whose primary focus is on other work. Data management services are dependent on the governance team and stewards for ensuring awareness about the initiative across the organization. A dedicated team will help in effectively laying down the policies and procedures. Many companies switch from full-time resources to a part-time team after some years but this decision must be based on the competence and expertise of the chosen staff members in the area. In most cases, the transition from a dedicated team results in negatively affecting the governance program.
4. Assess The Skills Of The Chosen People
Corporations must appoint people with experience of handling information assets and good leadership skills as data stewards. People with a background of managing data elements will know about their importance for the organization. They will also need less time for understanding the mechanism of the new program as compared to freshers with no experience. When the initiative is launched for the first time across a company, there can be resistance from some sections. The stewardship group must be manned by professionals with significant influence because of their positions to ensure that the specified policies are followed by all staff members. People with good leadership skills will be a valuable asset to the initiative. They must be good communicators and have exceptional problem-solving abilities. Having team members with such skill sets is necessary for meeting the challenges associated with the program.
5. Impart Proper Training To The Selected Professionals
No matter how experienced, intelligent, and skilled the professionals chosen for stewardship are, they need to be given proper training to execute their roles perfectly. There are numerous processes and technological tools that are used for a program and the selected personnel must know about their features and functioning. Stewards are usually the link between the business sections and the information technology department of a company. They need to be well-versed in the tools and procedures in order to maintain the standards of the information assets. The training program besides helping the people understand the definition, generation, and usage of information elements must also educate them about their accountability towards the assets. It is essential that companies list down the specific responsibilities associated with each data element along with the rules for their usage.
There will be hurdles and failures in the path of implementing strategic data stewardship program but organizations which overcome the obstacles quickly and are not deterred by setbacks will succeed in laying down the foundation of an efficient information management initiative.