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5/23/2006
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Kimball University: Data Stewardship 101: First Step to Quality and Consistency

Data stewards are the liaisons between business users and the data warehouse team, and they ensure consistent, accurate, well-documented and timely insight on resources and requirements.

Quick Study

A data stewardship program identifies, defines and protects data across the organization, and it's particularly beneficial to the many organizations that struggle to embrace a unified set of conformed dimensions. The primary goal of data stewardship is to provide consistent, accurate, documented and timely information about data resources. Data stewards are the liaisons between users and the data warehouse team, and they must communicate and balance business requirements and technical constraints-a role that requires cultural sensitivity and political skill. Most important, stewards must:

* Interpret new and changing business requirements to determine the impact on data warehouse design.

* Analyze the impact of data definition and source-system changes.

* Comply with corporate and regulatory policies to verify data quality, accuracy and reliability.

* Establish and perform data certification processes.

* Provide metadata that describes the data, identifies source data element(s) and details business rules or transformations.

It a tough assignment, but one that's better addressed through a formal stewardship program rather than with disorganized, ad hoc efforts to solve problems after time and energy has been wasted on conflicting approaches.

Bob Becker is a member of the Kimball Group. He has focused on dimensional data warehouse consulting and education since 1989. Contact him at bob@kimballgroup.com.

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