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Understanding Governance Stakeholders

Governance stewardship models are frequent components of Information Governance and Data Governance initiatives. The basic premise is that there should be clear understanding of what department(s) have the stewardship role for any given subject area of information or data. The governance stewardship model is an effort to assign responsibility and accountability over the integrity of the data or information assets. The enclosed diagram shows the key Information Governance stakeholders that form the key governance metadata that links a department to a subject area the context of a business governance role.

MetaGovernance often encounters clients where there are multiple departmental owners or stewards at a point in time for the same subject area. We have also seen where owner and steward are used as synonyms. Both of these situations make the true responsibility and accountability of information quality very fuzzy.

Which department holds ultimate responsibility? The answer is often both departments, until there is a regulatory finding, misstatement or other content issues. At that point, responsibility is often side stepped to where neither department claims ownership. This ambiguity no is longer is acceptable in the regulatory and competitive domains of Finance and Healthcare, and very inefficient in less-regulated industries.

The MetaGovernance Information Governance Stewardship model brings a level of precision to define an owner for a subject area of data and another department that may maintain data on behalf of the data owner (steward). We sometime use the term delegate as an alternate for steward, as it clearly states that the owner has delegated responsibility to another department, but not accountability.

An example in finance is where a Capital Markets department is the owner of investment trade data. There is often a business rule that states Compliance or Accounting have to maintain data for investment trades once the investment has been hedged. This to provide a separation of duties to ensure there are no unexpected impacts on the balance sheet or income statement of one-sided derivatives or investments.

The ability to answer the fundamental question, “who uses what data, and from where?” opens up a world of efficiency and risk reduction that is a critical to effective Information Governance. Our clients often vent frustration that they are not aware when data definitions are redefined, system of record is changed, data issues exist and they are not told, or simply they have no awareness of who uses the content their department owns. Defining registered consumers solves these issues by eliminating the mystery over the source and use of content. Determining registered consumers is often very low hanging fruit during a Data Warehouse, system replacement, or governance implementation. The business analysts clearly collect this information as part of their project diligence, yet it is not maintained, or lost in a spreadsheet.

The last key stakeholder is the custodian, or the department responsible for the storage and protection of the physical content. We are often told that IT is the custodian, which is typically the case. However, IT is not the custodian when the system of record is determined to be a spreadsheet or other departmental tool, or external vendor.

The Information Governance Stakeholder is core to the overall Information Governance Architecture. This metadata is the glue that binds businesses to their content in the context of governance. Collecting this information is a normal part of most projects. Maintaining this information cannot be done via a spreadsheet. The moment the work is ‘done’, there are system changes and reorganizations. Governance metadata tools such as InfoGov that traverse the entire architecture are needed, along with procedures, standards, and communication channels to leverage the content.