Unifying business data stewards for Salesforce development

Short description

Leading business data stewards in Customer Service, Finance, Transactions, and IT in a project to consolidate the organization’s data systems

Notes before you begin

  • Certain details of the case have been omitted for confidentiality and privacy.
  • A “Helpful definitions” section is available on this page.
  • A list of useful resources is included in this case study for individuals new to data governance and data management projects.


Company ABC was attempting to address rising issues with a legacy system named CDS that housed business-critical customer, transactional, sales, and financial data. The vendor that created CDS chose to leave the application development business, and the event created significant issues for Company ABC. Over several years, CDS development ceased, the number of system bugs grew, and feature requests went unresolved. Staff began repurposing other tools to accomplish tasks they hoped CDS would have solved. Company ABC decided to replace CDS and consolidate its data sources into Salesforce. Company ABC created a project team composed of business data stewards from Finance, Transactions, and Customer Service with IT to accomplish the objective.

The team made progress at the outset but eventually started to experience challenges. Conflict and tension grew within the group, collaboration eroded, and progress slowed to the point where the initiative was 1+ years overdue.


The objective of the case was to resolve the tension between the individual business data stewards and IT, ensure partnership, and drive the project to completion.

Client Name



Data Governance, Project Management, Business Glossary, Change Management (ADKAR), Leading with Trust, Emotional Intelligence, Conflict Resolution


Company ABC's leadership charged D.H. Goodall with alleviating the internal conflict, reinvigorating the team, and guaranteeing the Salesforce implementation would be completed in a reasonable timeframe. D.H. Goodall employed data governance and project management best practices. For example, D.H. Goodall:

  • Established that data governance is not an IT function but a business function;
  • Led every meeting to make sure each data steward had an equal voice and understood the concerns of stakeholders;
  • Leveraged emotional intelligence techniques to determine and address the root causes of the internal team conflict;
  • And collaboratively established a business glossary so that everyone spoke the same language about the data.

The project was completed 6 months after D.H. Goodall joined the team.

Helpful definitions

a person who is responsible for the maintenance of data and metadata of an organization. The data steward ensures quality, compliance, clarity, and understanding of the data they oversee. The data steward usually comes from the busines domain.

a collection of busines terms with their unique definitions and other useful related information.


  • DAMA-DMBOK2: Data Management Body of Knowledge, 2nd Edition by DAMA International
  • Data Stewardship: An Actionable Guide to Effective Data Management and Data Governance by David Plotkin
  • Non-Invasive Data Governance: The Path of Least Resistance and Greatest Success by Robert S. Seiner
  • Navigating the Labyrinth: An Executive Guide to Data Management (DMBOK2) by Laura Sebastian-Coleman
  • Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee
  • Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) by Project Management Institute
DAMA Data Management Framework Wheel
Data Management Framework Wheel by DAMA International. Copyright 2017