Industry Insight

Data Governance Certification or Data Stewardship Certification?

April Reeve By April Reeve December 7, 2011

The Data Management Association (DAMA) is now offering a Data Governance Certification as an option of their current Certified Data Management Professional, which is a natural extension since the test for Data Governance already existed under their current certification process and merely requires a specific configuration of test modules.  But what does Data Governance certification mean and is that really what is needed?

The Data Governance certification offered by DAMA is, to a great extent, based on the Data Governance practice area described in the DAMA Data Management Body of Knowledge document (DMBOK) which was published in 2009.  That focuses on the best practices for a Data Governance program and organization in terms of what activities it should be performing, what tools it should be using, and what roles and responsibilities should be present.  But do we need to be certifying that people know how to set up a Data Governance program?  Rather, should we be focusing on what the people who need to perform Data Governance for an organization should be doing – the Data Stewards?

Certifying Data Stewards may not be something that should be done generically. Rather, an organization may want to certify that the identified Data Stewards within their organization are knowledgeable in the agreed standard operating procedures for Data Stewards in that particular organization.

In summary, having a Data Governance certification makes sense that identifies individuals who are familiar with how, in general, a Data Governance organization should be created and operated.  It makes more sense for an organization to certify their Data Stewards on the particular processes unique to their organization.

April Reeve

About April Reeve


With 25 years of experience as an enterprise architect and program manager, April fully deserves her Twitter handle: @Datagrrl. She knows data extremely well, having spent more than a decade in the financial services industry where she managed implementations of very large application systems. April is a Data Management Specialist as part of EMC Global Services, with expertise in Data Governance, Master Data Management, Business Intelligence, Data Warehousing Conversion, Data Integration and Data Quality. All of these add up to one simple statement: April is very good at helping large companies organize their data and capture value from it. April works for EMC Consulting as a Business Consultant in the Enterprise Information Management practice.

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0 thoughts on “Data Governance Certification or Data Stewardship Certification?

  1. Hello April,
    When I read, ” Certifying Data Stewards may not be something that should be done generically. Rather, an organization may want to certify that the identified Data Stewards within their organization are knowledgeable in the agreed standard operating procedures for Data Stewards in that particular organization ” I am completely in align with your thinking and comment. But when I read your summary paragraph that said, “It makes more sense for an organization to certify their Data Stewards on the particular processes unique to their organization. ” …. I must say April, that I am not completely in align with your comment. It may be your opinion..I do understand.
    Having been a data steward and also lead data stewardship office, and also mentored and trained data stewards to become effiective in their day-to-day operations….. I am not sure, if a “certificate” is really the way to go…. certifying data stewards to me, is not that all important…especially certifying data stewards in a particular process is not what is needed. What is needed is for the data stewards to be motivated to perform being accountable and responsible for a particular data domain that they are assigend to and able to perform the duties of a data steward. Which means, their responsibilities will become part of their job description. Their individual performance matter now not only for their own progress but also for the progress of the data governance program itself. Certifying data steward on a particular process in a given organization should not be the focus. The focus should be keeping the data stewar motivated and giving them training and tools and forum for them to be successful. It is an iterative process where continuous improvements need to be the focus.
    Thank you for the opportunity to make comment on this very important topic.
    Please feel free to write to me using my email: benedictzz@comcast.net

    In the meantime, thank you.

    James Benedict

  2. I don’t disagee with the comment from James Benedict that it is most important to keep data stewards motivated and the tools to be productive. In addition, if you believe that certifications are a good idea these days, which I do, I think certifying Data Stewards is more valuable than certifying Data Governance experts.