Data Management

Data Contracts: Key Insights and Best Practices

Petr Mahdalicek
March 13, 2024 | 7 min read
Organizations nowadays rely heavily on data to make informed decisions, drive innovation, and gain a competitive edge. However, with the increasing volume and complexity of data, ensuring its quality, accessibility, and proper usage has become a significant challenge. This is where data contracts come into play.

In a recent insightful discussion at Accurity Data Vibes, data expert Torsten Priebe shared valuable insights into the world of data contracts, shedding light on their significance, implementation, and intersection with contemporary data processing agreements. Let's dive into the key takeaways from this enlightening conversation.


Understanding Data Contracts

At its core, a data contract is an agreement between a data provider and a data consumer that outlines the terms and conditions governing the use, access, and quality of data. It serves as a roadmap for how data should be managed, shared, and utilized within an organization. Hence they are becoming increasingly important in today's businesses, where data is being shared and exchanged between different systems, applications, and teams more than ever before.


Who is Involved?

The process of creating a data contract typically involves key stakeholders from both the business and technical sides of an organization. This includes data owners, data stewards, IT professionals, and legal experts. While the business side ensures data quality and usage alignment with organizational goals, the technical side focuses on data accessibility and implementation.


Key Elements of a Data Contract

 A well-defined data contract encompasses various critical elements, including:

  • Subject of the Contract/ Business Specification: Clearly define the specific data covered by the agreement. For example, specify the data type (e.g., customer data, financial data), relevant business domains, data structure and relationships between them, and also data formats including interface definitions.

  • Technical Specifications: Details on how data can be accessed, processed, and integrated into systems.

  • Service Level Agreements (SLAs): Agreed-upon standards for data quality, availability, and support.

  • Data Governance Policies: Guidelines for data usage, privacy, security, and compliance.

  • Responsibilities and Roles: Clear delineation of roles and responsibilities for data management and governance.

Benefits of Data Contracts:

1.     Enhanced Data Trust and Reliability thanks to improved data quality and consistency: By establishing clear guidelines and standards, data contracts promote trust and reliability in the data being used. Data contracts help to ensure that data is being exchanged in a consistent format, which improves data quality and reduces the risk of errors.

2.     Improved Data Governance: Data contracts provide a framework for effective data governance, ensuring data is managed and utilized in alignment with organizational objectives and regulatory requirements.

3.     Reduced risk of data breaches: By defining usage policies and responsibilities, data contracts help mitigate risks associated with data misuse, privacy breaches, and non-compliance.

4.     Improved data collaboration: Data contracts help improve data collaboration between different teams within a business, as well as with external partners. By clearly defining the structure and format of data, data contracts can make it easier for different teams to share and consume data.

5.     Accelerated data-driven innovation: Data contracts help businesses accelerate data-driven innovation by making it easier for developers to access and use data from different sources.


Implementation and Intersection with Data Processing Agreements

While data contracts focus on granular aspects of data usage and management, data processing agreements (DPAs) provide a high-level framework for data processing activities, especially in the context of GDPR, CCPA, or other data privacy regulations compliance. However, both documents intersect in ensuring data protection, quality, and usage alignment.

How Accurity can help

Accurity is a data intelligence platform that helps businesses to manage and use data more effectively. Accurity offers tailored solutions that streamline the management and execution of data contracts:

  • Business glossary: Accurity's business glossary provides a common set of definitions for the terms used in data contracts. Accurity facilitates the definition and publication of data contracts. This ensures that both parties have a clear understanding of the meaning of the data being exchanged.

  • Data catalog: Accurity's data catalog can be used to document the structure, format, and quality of data assets that are being exchanged under a data contract. This can help to ensure that both parties have a clear understanding of the data they are sending and receiving.

  • Data quality & observability: Accurity's data quality & observability solution can be used to monitor and improve the quality of data assets. This can help ensure that data contracts are being met.

  • Business data lineage: Accurity's business data lineage can be used to create a visual representation of the data being exchanged under a data contract and helps to facilitate the understanding of how the business glossary connects with the data catalog. This can help both parties to understand the relationships between the different data elements and to ensure that the data is being exchanged consistently and efficiently.

  • Reference data management (RDM): Accurity's RDM solution can be used to manage and govern the reference data used in data contracts. This can help to ensure that the reference data is accurate, up-to-date, and consistent.



In conclusion, data contracts play a pivotal role in shaping how organizations manage, share, and utilize data effectively. By establishing clear guidelines, standards, and responsibilities, data contracts promote trust, reliability, and compliance in data-driven decision-making processes. With the right approach and collaboration between stakeholders, organizations can harness the full potential of their data assets while mitigating risks and ensuring regulatory compliance.

Accurity's data intelligence platform can help businesses implement and manage data contracts more effectively.

Stay tuned to our LinkedIn channel for more insights and discussions on data governance, management, and innovation in our upcoming sessions of Accurity Data Vibes. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about data contracts, feel free to reach out to us or request a demo of the Accurity platform.

Petr Mahdalicek
Founder and CEO

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