Man using laptop to monitor data storage hardware system

Exploring data management and administration

Posted on: March 1, 2023

Data administration and data resource management are fundamental components within the wider fields of computer science and information systems. Through data management and administration, data resources can be effectively organised, manipulated, and managed according to system requirements, business requirements, and so on.

This work has become increasingly crucial with the rise of big data and the importance of data in driving or informing everything from business decision-making and corporate strategies to business operations and marketing campaigns and initiatives. 

It’s important to note that the management and the administration of data are two separate – but closely connected – things, so are often confused with one another.

Data management covers the tools – such as databases and database management systems (DBMS)  – that are used to store, organise, and maintain data sets. Data administration, on the other hand, refers to the process by which data is managed within databases and database management systems. This work is typically overseen by a dedicated data administrator (or database administrator), who is responsible for ensuring that:

  • data assets are controlled and secure
  • data dictionaries, which contain a database’s metadata, are maintained 
  • data can be processed by, or interact with, different business applications through data integration
  • databases are organised to remain logical and usable for data models
  • data quality retains its integrity throughout its lifecycle
  • data can be used effectively according to business needs and objectives.

So while data administration (and database administration) may sometimes be referred to as data resource management, it is still separate from data management – and indeed, is actually a core function of data management.

Understanding data management

Effective data management ensures that businesses and other organisations can optimise the use of their data to make better decisions, reduce costs, and increase profits. 

What are the different types of data management tools and functions?


Databases are one of the commonly used tools for data management, with an organisation’s data easily stored, accessed, and maintained within a database. 

Commonly known data storage databases include MySQL, SQL Server, and Oracle Database, among others, with structured query language – or SQL – used to work with the data that’s held within a database. 

Another database example is a customer relationship management (CRM) database, which is typically used to store, access, and manage customer or client information, and share it within a business.

Data warehouses

A data warehouse, also known as an enterprise data warehouse, can hold data from multiple databases and other sources and integrate the information for use in business intelligence reporting and analysis.

Data architecture

Data architecture outlines an organisation’s rules and policies for data collection from data sources and data governance. This includes everything from how data is integrated into data systems – through the use of tools such as an application programming interface (API) – to how data is used within the information technology (IT) team and the wider business. It will also outline a policy for data archiving when data resources reach the end of their lifecycle.

Understanding data administration

Once data management is in place, data administration – or database administration – can take place.

What does a data administrator do?

A data administrator, or database administrator, has a number of responsibles. These include the creation of data models – as well as defining the semantic relationships between these models. They also oversee data security and the access control and permissions for different end users within the organisation. 

The administrator effectively acts as the data steward for the business, ensuring the security and integrity of the data. Additionally, they are on hand to provide data consultancy in real-time to organisational stakeholders so that metrics can be understood and outlined, ensuring that data is used to best effect within the business.

What are the phases of data administration?

Data administration typically includes a few key stages:

  1. Planning and implementation. A data administrator is typically involved in the creation of new databases and database management systems, and will oversee their design and configuration as well as the development of important features, such as data extraction, and integration with other applications.
  2. Management and maintenance. The data administrator is responsible for keeping databases – and any relevant or integrated applications – running as intended. They ensure that outages, downtime, and slowdowns are minimised, and keep backups of data if recovery is ever required. They are also the first port of call for any issues, providing troubleshooting, fixes, and resolutions when challenges arise.
  3. Analysis. Data administrators often act as performance analysts, monitoring the performance of databases, and the applications that access them, and making improvements where required. Data administrators also provide support within organisations to ensure businesses are getting the most of their data.
  4. Optimisation. Data administrators are constantly fine-tuning databases and data management systems to ensure they’re performing efficiently and to the best of their ability in order to make the best use of organisational data. 

Develop in-demand data skills

Deepen your understanding of data management and administration with the MSc Computer Science at the University of Wolverhampton. This flexible Master’s degree has been developed for ambitious individuals who may not have a background in computer science, and is delivered 100% online.

One of the key modules on this programme is in database systems and security, which equips you with the skills necessary to design and implement appropriate database systems to support the manipulation of data – and keep it secure. The module will also develop your understanding of the different types of database systems so that you know where each is most applicable. 

You’ll study database management and administration management of data, as well as:

  • database concepts and techniques.
  • database design (Oracle Data Modeller).
  • relational model concepts working with database technologies.
  • SQL, Oracle.
  • non-relational systems such as NoSQL, MongoDB and Oracle NoSQL.
  • Hadoop Technologies and the Spark environment.
  • data governance.
  • data security.

After studying this module, you will be able to apply a critical understanding of – and demonstrate ability in – the tools and techniques used in the development of database applications, and understand the fundamental aspects of data governance and data security.

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