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Roles in Data Governance

Working with data is a team event. Different people are involved in different stages of the data process. The roles described below are roles commonly involved in data governance. The general order below is the common order in which these individuals will work with data. However, life is not always linear and different people may jump in at different times. In addition, one person might have more than one role when working with data in the governance process.

Data Owners

Data owners are responsible for the infrastructure such as the database in which data is stored for consumption and use. Data owners are also in charge of the allocation of resources related to the data. Data owners also play a critical role in developing standard operating procedures and compliance with these standards.

Data Producers

Once the database or whatever tool is used for the data the next role involved is the data producer. Data producers are responsible for creating data. The creation of data can happen through such processes as data entry or data collection. Data producers may also support quality control and general problem-solving of issues related to data. To make it simple the producer uses the system that the owner developed for the data.


Data Engineers

Data engineers are responsible for pipeline development which is moving data from one place to the other for various purposes. Data engineers deal with storage optimization and distribution. Data engineers also support the automation of various tasks. Essentially, engineers move around the data that producers create.

Data Custodians

Data custodians are the keepers and protectors of data. They focus on using the storage created by the data owner and the delivery of data like the data engineer. The difference is that the data custodian sends data to the people after them in this process such as stewards and analysts.

Data custodians also make sure to secure and back up the data. Lastly, data custodians are often responsible for network management.

Data Stewards

Data stewards work on defining and organizing data. These tasks might involve working with metadata in particular. Data students also serve as gatekeepers to the data which involves keeping track of who is using and accessing the data. Lastly, data stewards help consumers (analysts and scientists) find the data that they may need to complete a project.

Data Analysts

Data analysts as the name implies analyze the data. Their job can involve statistical modeling of data to make a historical analysis of what happened in the past. Data analysts are also responsible for cleaning data for analysis. In addition, data analysts are primarily responsible for data visualization and storytelling development of data. Dashboards and reports are also frequently developed by the data analyst.

Data Scientists

The role of a data scientist is highly similar to data analyst. The main difference is that data scientists use data to predict the future while data analysts use data to explain the past. In addition, data scientists serve as research designers to acquire additional data for the goals of a project. Lastly, data scientists do advance statistical work involving at times machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data mining.


The roles mentioned above all play a critical role in supporting data within an organization. When everybody plays their part well organizations can have much more confidence in the decisions they make based on the data that they have.

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