Data Steward: Key Role in Building Trust in Data and Streamlining Data Operations

People   |   Paul Warburg   |   Jul 14, 2022

Who Is a Data Steward?

A Data Steward is the technical or business role that implements data governance for an organization, lines of business, or business units. Data governance refers to high-level policies for protecting data against loss, corruption, theft, or misuse. As a functional role in data management and data governance, a Data Steward makes sure that the policies, processes, guidelines, and standards that render data trustworthy are put into practice.

As an advocate for the proper use of and attention to data, a Data Steward plays a key role in building up an organization’s institutional confidence in its data. Without that trust, organizations lack confidence in their strategic business decisions. Or worse yet, they make business decisions that steer them in the wrong direction—financially, organizationally, or legally.

Data Stewards are often seen as guardians of data quality, making sure the data that drives key business decisions can be trusted to be complete, accurate, and valid. They help create a sense of security and trust in the data.

Data Stewards are also seen as go-to experts on data; they’re the people who know what data an organization has, where it’s located, where it comes from and where it’s going, who uses it, and how it’s used.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Data Steward?

A Data Steward defines data processes, creates processes or procedures, maintains the quality of an organization’s data, optimizes workflows, monitors data usage, assists teams, and ensures data compliance and security. A Data Steward is responsible for a far-reaching and important scope of work.


Managing and Maintaining Data Quality

Data Stewards maintain a collection of practices that confirm and ensure an organization’s data is accessible and usable and can be trusted to be complete, accurate, and valid. Some areas they are responsible for include:

  1. Profiling and assessing data
  2.  Helping to find and fix data errors, anomalies, and inconsistencies
  3. Validating data to ensure profiled data is clean, accurate, and of high quality

Managing Data Lineage

Data Stewards safeguard the transparency and accuracy of data lineage. Data lineage is the lifecycle of a piece of data: where it originates, what its business context is, what happens to it, what is done to it, and where it moves over time. When data is in use—for example, in analytics or AI/ML—Data Stewards can help trace data errors or problems back to their root causes.


Supporting the User Community

Data Stewards champion the user community as part of an organization’s data operations. This cross-functional team of data suppliers, data preparers, and data consumers works together to create a data supply chain used to build analytics for lines of business. A Data Steward is a critical link in this overall data supply chain, straddling the work of the data team and the needs of the user community.


Creating and Enforcing Data Governance Policies and Procedures

Data Stewards create, carry out, monitor, and enforce data usage rules, regulations, and other policies set forth by data governance initiatives. They make sure every aspect of the data lifecycle follows and upholds an organization’s data governance principles.

How Does Alteryx Help Data Stewards?

Alteryx Analytic Cloud Platform helps Data Stewards easily access data, audit data reliability, track data lineage, and ensure high-quality, trustworthy, and consumable data at any scale. This intelligent, collaborative, self-service data engineering cloud platform helps Data Stewards:


Connect to data from any source. Alteryx makes it fast and easy for Data Stewards to connect to data from any source through a self-service architecture that offers universal data connectivity. This enables Data Stewards to ensure line-of-business stakeholders have access to complete, high-quality data to feed analytics.


Ensure data quality. Designer Cloud’s Adaptive Data Quality rules help Data Stewards interpret and understand the reliability of data and provide intelligent suggestions to correct anomalies as they arise. With Designer Cloud, Data Stewards can quickly profile datasets and observe changes in data, allowing for easy monitoring of data quality and fast identification of issues like data drift that could break data pipelines.


Collaborate with users across the organization on data projects. Designer Cloud’s collaborative data engineering platform allows users of varying technical skill levels to work together inside of their data projects. This collaborative approach allows Data Stewards to easily communicate and enforce data usage policies, processes, and procedures inside of active data projects across their organizations.

Interested in learning how Alteryx can help your Data Stewards reduce the time, technical skills, and costs required to manage and maintain data quality and build trust in your data? Schedule a demo today.