About: Data Management Roles


Efficient deployment and maintenance of an organizationally-integrated solution is best achieved through the establishment of specific roles. This best practice is common for any type of solution that effects working practices and/or involves multiple stakeholders.

Northern recommends that the following roles are established when a customer begins to pro-actively manage user data with a Northern solution:

  Solution User
  Affected by policies and expected to perform specific actions. The users in this group are often referred to as Data Stewards.
  Solution Area Manager
  Northern's speaking partner in the initial solution implementation phase. Responsible for supporting Solution Users in their use of the system during normal operations.
  Technical Maintenance
  Responsible for maintaining the underlying infrastructure and software.


It is important to consider areas of expertise when identifying the individuals or groups that should fulfill each role. For example, if Northern’s solution is being used for Information Governance and Compliance purposes then individuals within the Office of the CDO or Data Governance function are best placed to fulfill the role of Solution Area Manager. The use of multiple Solution Areas may call for multiple Solution Area Managers and may involve multiple groups of Solution Users.

The responsibilities, tasks and anticipated skills of the individuals associated with each role are detailed below.

Role Tasks and Responsibilities

The individual users who are affected by policies put in place and are responsible for managing data through the software’s self-service user interface. The tasks that these users are asked/required to carry out will depend on the Solution Area(s) being used and the business requirements that are driving the use of the Solution Area(s). For example, if Northern’s solution is in place as a Distributed Data Management solution aimed at ensuring more efficient file service use with reduced generic risk exposure, then Northern would recommend that all users within the organization are able to participate and that they are asked to measure their use of the file service against a defined corporate policy.

This role requires strong knowledge of the data that is to be managed and working knowledge of the actions that should be taken on different categories of data. Depending on the Solution Area(s) in place, specific tasks can include:

  • Responding to email notifications of usage thresholds being reached and actively reviewing data stored
  • Reviewing data owned by recently exiting colleagues/subordinates and taking relevant action
  • Monitoring for violations of internal file service usage policy and taking or delegating action

The Solution Area Manager(s) (see below) are the primary source of support and guidance for the Solution Users.

In the early stages of solution adoption, the Solution Area Manager is responsible for gathering and prioritizing business requirements from relevant stakeholders. These requirements are used in discussions with Northern solution architects to determine how the Solution Area should be technically/organizationally implemented and integrated to ensure delivery on the business requirements.

During on-going operations, the Solution Area Manager is responsible for ensuring that Solution Users understand and are able to fulfill their role within the specific Solution Area and that opportunities for developing the value delivered by the Solution Area are identified and evaluated.

This role requires good knowledge of the functions and capabilities of the Northern software and a strong understanding of the business requirements that drive its use. Depending on the Solution Area(s) in place, specific tasks can include:

  • Defining which users/groups should have access to the service and what tasks they should be asked to perform
  • Configuring and maintaining access to the service for Solution Users, including role-adapted dashboards
  • Guiding Solutions Users in their use of the service; ensuring that they understand what actions they should take
  • Monitoring success rates and evaluating opportunities for extended/adapted software use

Northern’s Support and Professional Services teams are available to assist in the definition and execution of these tasks. Additionally the group with responsibility for Technical Maintenance (see below) would normally assist in more technical Solution Area Management tasks.

Ensuring the application, application host servers, database and connectivity to target storage devices/services is maintained. This role is a technical role and is typically fulfilled by the IT function of the organization.

Besides normal systems administration, networking and database administration skills, this role requires a good understanding of the technical interfaces of the Northern software, it’s data-gathering, policy enforcement and error reporting capabilities. Specific tasks include:

  • Periodic upgrading of the NSS software (services and web-based user interface)
  • Applying security updates to application servers
  • Periodic review and possible trimming of databases
  • Ensuring connectivity requirements are maintained during updates/changes in target storage infrastructure
  • Assisting Solution Area Management team(s) in technical configuration of the software

Northern’s Support and Professional Services teams are available to assist in the definition and execution of these tasks.

Further Assistance

Northern has significant experience in assisting organizations to design and implement successful data management initiatives. This experience is a key component of the solution that Northern delivers. If you require further assistance in the establishment of data management roles, please do not hesitate to contact your account manager or a representative of the engineering team. You can also contact info@northern.net to have your inquiry routed for you.


  • KB3120 How to: Configure Access Rules
  • KB3143 How to: Create & Manage Security Roles
  • KB Article: 3181

    Updated: 12/19/2016

    • Category
      • Concept
    • Affected versions
      • NSS 9.6
      • NSS 9.7
      • NSS 9.8

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