Principle 12: Data Trustee

Classification:  Data Principle

Statement: Each data element has a trustee accountable for data quality.

Rationale: One of the benefits of an architected environment is the ability to share data (e.g., text, video, sound, etc.) across the enterprise. As the degree of data sharing grows and business units rely upon common information, it becomes essential that only the data trustee makes decisions about the content of data.  Since data can lose its integrity when it is entered multiple times, the data trustee will have sole responsibility for data entry which eliminates redundant human effort and data storage resources.  Note: A trustee is different than a steward — a trustee is responsible for accuracy and currency of the data, while responsibilities of a steward may be broader and include data standardisation and definition tasks.


  • Real trusteeship dissolves the data ‘‘ownership’’ issues and allows the data to be available to meet all users’ needs. This implies that a cultural change from data ‘‘ownership’’ to data ‘‘trusteeship’’ may be required.
  • The data trustee will be responsible for meeting quality requirements levied upon the data for which the trustee is accountable.
  • It is essential that the trustee has the ability to provide user confidence in the data based upon attributes such as ‘‘data source’’.
  • It is essential to identify the true source of the data in order that the data authority can be assigned this trustee responsibility. This does not mean that classified sources will be revealed nor does it mean the source will be the trustee.
  • Information should be captured electronically once and immediately validated as close to the source as possible. Quality control measures must be implemented to ensure the integrity of the data.
  • As a result of sharing data across the enterprise, the trustee is accountable and responsible for the accuracy and currency of their designated data element(s) and, subsequently, must then recognise the importance of this trusteeship responsibility.