5 Hurdles In Implementing An Effective Data Stewardship Program

5 Hurdles In Implementing An Effective Data Stewardship Program

Data has been identified as a major corporate asset and enterprises are hiring data management consulting companies to devise a suitable plan for handling the asset. The implementation of the information management program gives rise to a different set of issues, most notable of them being who is responsible for maintaining the quality of all the data elements. Data governance holds the solution to this problem by defining standard policies and procedures for handling the information. It involves starting a data stewardship program which will ensure that all the policies and rules are followed by the organization regularly. A well-run initiative ensures the availability of consistent data but most organizations do not give proper attention to the program leading to the emergence of issues. Let’s discuss the major obstacles that a business can encounter while implementing a data stewardship initiative.

1. Declining Interest Levels Of The People

Maintaining the sanctity of data elements can be a boring job. The monotony of ensuring that the same set of procedures is followed repeatedly by stakeholders can cause user fatigue. In addition to this, if the initiative has not been linked to specific issues, then it is possible that the organization loses interest in the program. The various personnel will be happy to complete their assigned tasks with no concerns about data stewardship goals. The organization must clearly state the problems that are going to be solved by the program. They must impress upon the workforce about the necessity to keep the information free from errors. This is possible only when the specific outcomes of each issue which the company is trying to avoid is communicated to the staff members. Linking each stewardship activity with a distinct issue will help employees in understanding the value of their work and keep their interest in the program at optimum levels.

2. Assigning Roles To Unsuitable Persons

Many companies fail in successfully running the program because of the selection of inappropriate personnel. They engaged the top firms for  data steward training but it proved to be a fruitless exercise as the people chosen for the purpose did not possess the necessary skills. It will be pertinent of organizations choose people who have prior experience of working with the information assets. Such staff members will not require much time to learn the processes involved in the program and easily slip into their new roles. Another mistake committed by enterprises is to hire people from outside which also leads to problems as such individuals are unfamiliar with the data elements. In many companies, data stewardship is assigned as an additional responsibility to workers. In such cases, extra time must be given to the people to get used to their roles. Moreover, the chosen professionals must be effective communicators with strong negotiating skills.

3. Not Synchronizing The Initiative With The Business Goals

The objective behind running a program for managing information assets as well as other associated initiatives is to ensure that the organization achieves its business goals. The data stewardship program also needs to be linked with specific business objectives. Let’s say an enterprise wants to improve the quality of data related to its online sales. Then it must first appoint a steward to oversee the relevant business process and not depend upon a professional assigned the task of overall online customer or product data. The professional assigned the task will monitor how the information is accessed at each stage right from lead generation to final payment for buying a product. The whole initiative needs to be run keeping the stated business goals in mind as only then it will generate productive results.

4. Unrealistic Expectations From The Program

Having a target-oriented approach is essential for a successful initiative but setting unrealistic aims can lead to its failure. Many organizations err by bringing in comprehensive changes by implementing the program which leads to multiple issues. Not each department will easily adapt to the change and not every staff member will be prepared right from the first day to perform at optimum levels. This will result in problems in all the sections and at various levels which will ultimately lead to a failed initiative. It is essential that the implementation focuses on resolving specific data issues which ultimately fulfills a business objective. While the program must be devised keeping the big picture in mind, its application must be done in a phased manner. Aiming to roll out the program uniformly across the whole corporation in a single phase is never a sensible option.

5. Ineffective Change Management Strategy

Data stewardship can be a huge change for organizations and they must have an effective strategy in place for dealing with it. The business sections of the corporation may not be too enthusiastic about the program thinking. It will be pertinent to demonstrate to them through examples how poor data can affect the final decision-making of the company. Change management is the key to smoothly roll out the new program across the organization. Many companies commit the error of not framing an effective change management plan or not having a scheme at all. This leads to adaptability issues as employees do not understand the necessity for change and their attitude remains unenthusiastic and resistant. The best practices of change management will help prepare and equip the staff members to adopt the new plan. 


An efficient data stewardship program helps meeting the governance objective of ensuring easy availability of accurate data throughout the organization. Entrepreneurs must engage experts to ensure that an effective stewardship strategy is framed for their business.

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