Selecting the Right Material Master Data Steward
After discussing the importance of master data stewards in the last blog post, it is time to end on the part that is most actionable – actually selecting the data stewards you need. A data steward needs to be someone who can shoulder the responsibilities of managing the organization’s data without getting overwhelmed.
Owning and managing material master data is a tall order and requires particular abilities. Here are the qualities a data steward must have:
- Patience – Change is rarely positively received, and is generally the cause of conflicts. Data stewards are in the thick of it as they have to oversee a significant transformation. This means the data steward needs be able to recognize people’s anxieties, address their concerns, and answer all queries.
- Competence – Putting an incompetent person in charge of your data quality can be counterproductive. Still, the data steward position sometime becomes a refuge for less productive employees. Avoid this trap! Your data steward needs to be a domain expert and enthusiastic about learning more about data management and governance.
- Accommodation – Data stewards recognize that not everyone will be convinced of the importance of data governance overnight. At times, they will need to act as appeasers to people’s concerns, helping others ease into the transformation. They should be flexible and creative with getting employees on board and fully acquainted with a new system.
- Self-awareness – This sounds obvious, but one fact that stewards need to be aware of is that they are not there simply to manage the data. They are also supposed to be the champions of data quality and data governance. The process is disruptive and is bound to ruffle feathers. Empowered data stewards know what they need to do and can easily explain why employees’ temporary discomfort will be worth it.
- Business Support – We end our list of qualities with an external factor that will determine the suitability and ultimately the success of any data steward – the support of the business leadership. No one can succeed alone, and even the most competent steward needs to be backed by leadership that is on-board with the project and is ready to provide the support required.
The above pointers will help you select your next data steward and sort out any problems you’re having with existing data stewards.
Have you faced any unique challenges with master data stewardship? We would love to read about your experiences in the comment section below.
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