“Functionally, our data owners are visible in our organization and are recognized as leaders.”
As the precepts of Data Governance percolate through the business world, the terminology is still, well, squishy. Businesses have largely come to accept that data is only clean and accurate if someone is responsible for making it so. The data objects within a company are only documented if someone is responsible for creating the documentation. So far, so good. Some companies refer to these folks as Data Owners, creating the image of a gatekeeper responsible primarily for the security of the data along with its accuracy. The best way to keep something secure is to not let anybody touch it, though, and that mindset isn’t going to reap great benefits from the data. So, while we acknowledge the prevalence of the “Owner” concept, we prefer the “Data Steward” concept. That term carries the implication that the individual is responsible for serving the user. Whichever term your company uses, how are these people recognized? Are they challenged in the same way that people in charge of other assets are challenged? Our advice: These positions should be visible because they are critical. If they are not, something may be wrong.