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Ineffective Data Governance and Provenance Driving the Proliferation of Data Roles in Enterprise

At GDS we have a thesis that the reason there are so many roles in the enterprise related to data is that the way enterprises are tracking, storing and managing data is incomplete and has to change. Let's take a look at the roles that they are designed to do and a more holistic way of looking at and storing data which will be the new competitive advantage in the world of AI. In a nutshell enterprises have to change the way they look at data from the ground up.

In the age of AI and data-driven decision-making, enterprises are indeed grappling with a complex array of data-related roles. This can be attributed to the fact that many organizations are struggling to approach data governance and data provenance in a manner that aligns with the demands of modern technology and business needs. While the expansion of data roles signifies the importance of data, it also highlights the shortcomings in existing approaches to data management.

Let’s first look at the roles related to data in the enterprise and their mandates.

Data Related Roles in the Enterprise


Function and Responsibilities

Key Questions Addressed for the Enterprise

Chief Data Officer (CDO)

Overseeing the organization's data strategy and governance.

How can we align data initiatives with overall business strategy?

Ensuring compliance with regulations and data security.

How can we mitigate risks associated with data management?

Providing strategic direction to maximize data value.

How can we optimize data utilization to gain a competitive edge?

Data Architect

Designing data architecture and models for efficient data management.

How can we structure data to ensure accessibility and scalability?

Defining data governance policies for security and compliance.

What are the best practices for data security and regulatory compliance?

Collaborating with teams to understand data requirements.

How can we align data initiatives with business goals?

Creating blueprints for data systems to ensure data integrity.

How can we ensure data consistency and accuracy across systems?

Establishing data integration strategies for seamless access.

How can we integrate diverse data sources for a holistic view?

Data Engineer

Building and maintaining data pipelines for data collection.

How can we ensure reliable and continuous data flow from sources?

Cleaning, transforming, and integrating data for analysis.

How can we preprocess data for accurate and meaningful insights?

Ensuring data accessibility and availability for analysts.

How can we make data readily available for analysis and reporting?

Collaborating with Data Scientists for model deployment.

How can we support the deployment of machine learning models?

Data Scientist

Developing advanced analytical models and algorithms.

How can we extract valuable insights and predictions from data?

Collaborating with domain experts to define data-driven strategies.

How can data-driven insights guide our decision-making?

Designing experiments and conducting statistical analyses.

How can we test hypotheses and validate our data-driven strategies?

Creating predictive models for business problems.

How can we leverage data to enhance operational efficiency?

Data Analyst

Interpreting data, generating reports, and creating visualizations.

How can we communicate data insights effectively to stakeholders?

Analyzing trends and patterns to support decision-making.

How can we make informed decisions based on data trends?

Collaborating with cross-functional teams for data insights.

How can we bridge the gap between technical data and business needs?

How to make sure execution follows the plan?Data Privacy Officer (DPO)Focuses on data privacy and compliance with data protection regulations. Manages data protection policies and practices.How effectively can we maintain customer privacy and security?DataOps TeamFacilitates collaboration between Data Engineers, Data Scientists, and DevOps teams. Implements continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) practices for data and AI/ML pipelines.How can we provide the tools needed to facilitate data science and continuous deployment and improvement? Data Quality AnalystMonitors data quality and identifies areas for improvement. Collaborates with Data Engineers to address data quality issuesHow can we trust the data produced?

Challenges and Potential Solutions

  1. Lack of Comprehensive Data Strategy: Many enterprises lack a coherent data strategy that aligns data initiatives with business goals. This leads to fragmented data management practices, resulting in data silos and inefficient resource allocation.

  2. Poor Data Quality: Without robust data governance practices, data quality tends to suffer. Inaccurate or incomplete data can lead to unreliable insights and flawed decision-making, necessitating specialized roles to clean and transform data for analysis.

  3. Data Provenance Gaps: In the age of AI, understanding the lineage and origin of data is critical. Poor data provenance practices result in uncertainty about the accuracy and reliability of data sources, leading to the need for roles focused on tracking data lineage.

Current Approaches and Their Shortcomings:

  1. Reactive Data Governance: Many enterprises have adopted a reactive approach to data governance, only addressing issues after they arise. This leads to inefficiencies, data discrepancies, and an increased need for roles to fix the problems.

  2. Isolated Data Management: Departments often manage their data independently, leading to fragmentation. Disparate data sources and varying data definitions lead to confusion and inconsistencies, further necessitating specialized roles for data integration.

  3. Neglecting Data Lineage: Enterprises often overlook the importance of tracking data lineage, which results in challenges in tracing the origin, transformations, and usage of data. This leads to mistrust in data, thus requiring roles to verify data sources.

Alternative Approaches:

  1. Proactive Data Governance: Adopt a proactive data governance strategy that focuses on prevention rather than reaction. Establish clear data quality standards, ownership, and monitoring processes to prevent data issues from arising.

  2. Collaborative Data Management: Implement cross-functional teams that collectively manage data across the organization. This minimizes data silos and ensures consistency in data practices, reducing the need for specialized roles.

  3. Embrace Data Provenance: Prioritize data provenance by implementing systems that track the entire journey of data from source to consumption. This enhances data credibility, reducing the need for roles to verify data sources.

  4. Automation and AI: Leverage AI and automation to streamline data processes, from data cleaning to integration. This reduces the need for manual intervention and specialized roles for data manipulation.

  5. Holistic Data Strategy: Develop a holistic data strategy that integrates data initiatives with the overall business strategy. This ensures that data-related roles are aligned with business objectives, reducing redundancy.


In conclusion, the proliferation of data-related roles in enterprises can indeed be attributed to inadequate data governance and provenance practices. By adopting proactive, collaborative, and technology-driven approaches, enterprises can streamline their data management processes, reduce the need for specialized roles, and unlock the true potential of data in the age of AI. For AI to be effective a new data driven approach must be instilled in the enterprise.


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