It’s a generally recognized fact that all lines of business (LOB) require access to data to do their jobs as effectively, efficiently, and intelligently as possible. But when it comes to managing this access, there appears to be less consensus. The traditional approach has been to manage data access through centralized IT teams, but is this the right framework for today’s data-driven enterprise?

The answer, according to a recent Datanami article, appears to be no. The authors argue that in order to provide the pervasive data access necessary for all users while also ensuring proper governance and regulatory compliance, companies must shift toward a distributed data stewardship model. Under this approach, the teams that are closest to the data will manage access and permissions, eliminating the bottleneck associated with having IT manage access to all enterprise data. The article acknowledges that this shift is neither easy nor quick, and is therefore best approached in stages.

Following is a brief roadmap for the shift to distributed data stewardship:

Phase 1: Centralized IT, centralized governance, distributed data access management to the LOB for everyday user access

In this phase, the centralized IT team, typically under the leadership of the Chief Data Officer (CDO) or Chief Information Officer (CIO), will begin implementing the necessary technology changes to enable LOBs control of access management. While this takes effect, a centralized governance team will maintain responsibility for making organization-wide governance decisions and providing top-down governance controls.

Phase 2: Centralized IT, decentralized governance, distributed data access management

Decentralized governance teams who are specialists in particular areas of regulation (think finance and HR) will work with data stewards to manage governance for their LOBs. This phase will require new data access management technology that supports domain-based federation across the organization.

Phase 3: Decentralized IT, decentralized governance, distributed data access management

Shadow IT has many companies unintentionally moving towards the decentralized IT model. By accepting the benefits of decentralized governance and data access management, however, companies can ensure that the needs of LOBs are fully met and that they have received the necessary training and support from centralized IT. In this longer-term vision, it’s important to maintain consistent, centralized visibility in lieu of the requirement for centralized governance teams.

As organizations move through these phases, centralized IT will become less of a bottleneck, and LOBs will be able to meet their teams’ data access needs more quickly—without compromising governance and compliance requirements. And as companies reach more mature states of distributed data stewardship internally, their ability to share and monetize data externally will improve, paving the way for new opportunities in data-driven decision-making.

For more information on the path to distributed data stewardship, you can read the full Datanami article here.