The role of a Data Owner — Data Governance ToR’s

lawrence giordano
3 min readOct 11, 2022

It feels like a lot of time and effort is sent on defining roles, most of the time representing the same thing, there are nuances that need to be observed such as making the content fit your brand, rewording sections to align to the business motives, underlying all the fluffy rewording there is a set of core principles that the role plays within a data governance program, for this article I thought I would start with the Data Owner.

If you have a background in data governance, been involved in a data governance program, read any content on data governance such as BABOK or have even been assigned a role within such as data owner, then hopefully there is some understanding of the importance of the role within a program — if not you will have to just take my word for it, its important.

Before diving into the technical terms of reference for the role and some general advice of setting a data owner, I think reflecting on why the role is a foundation for a successful program, from my experience it comes down to human psychology, indulge me here.

The landscape of technology is rapidly changing and so is the way we move, store and utilize our data, with more and more complex systems, data pipelines and architecture paradigms including business leaders wanting to jump on the band wagon of data science and AI, the simple fact that having a visual representation of your business broken down into data domains such as products, customer, marketing etc. including who is responsible for each data set makes it both clear who the decision maker is for that domain, and give us all a slightly warm fuzzy feeling to see a structured diagram showing its all under control, right..

So here is a more structured definition for what a data owner is:

Operationally accountable for the Data Domain they have been assigned. The Data Owner ensures high quality of data in the organization and has working relationship with the Data Governance Manager. The role manages the Data Stewards and Data Administrators within their function. A Business Data Owner is a business representative who has authority to make decisions and drive data management strategy. An important aspect of the role is ensuring decisions are being made for the benefit of the whole organisation, this will require engagement across all areas of the business that consume data within their Data Domain.