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Why “data stewards” are essential to unlock the true value of data

by: data-sharing-coalition|

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Why “data stewards” are essential to unlock the true value of data

Why “data stewards” are essential to unlock the true value of data

We regularly reflect on topics in the news that are related to the (goal and principles of) Data Sharing Coalition. In this blog, we discuss the topic of data stewards: what is it and why is it relevant to the Data Sharing Coalition? 

Cluttered, unstructured data hampers value creation 

Organisations generate huge amounts of data every day, which can differ considerably in characteristics such as semantics and structure. As a result, many organisations are dealing with messy data spread across multiple databases, platforms and spreadsheets. Furthermore, a lot of data is stored in a poorly structured way. This is a problem, because unstructured data limits the value that can be realised with data sharing; data that is poorly maintained and unstructured cannot be interpreted or used by other companies. 

Introducing: the data steward 

A data steward is an emerging, new job function. They are responsible for assuring quality of the data, creating standard definitions that everyone should follow, maintaining a consistent use of data resources, and ensuring compliance to data laws and security of the data. With the emergence of this new role, many organisations are enabling themselves to create new value from their data. 

Why is this role so important? 

The true value of data can only be unlocked if it can be shared and re-used throughout the digital economy. This requires a set of tools, agreements and other common facilities, which is what the Data Sharing Coalition is working towards. But apart from that, every company needs to take good care of its data and provide users with high-quality data that is easily accessible and meaningful for other organisations. As this is the responsibility of a data steward, the emergence of this role is complementary to (the goals of) the Data Sharing Coalition and essential for meaningful data sharing. 

 Read more about data stewards on Computable (Dutch only).