What I’ve done

Data Governance Interview by Nicola Askham

By |2018-10-06T10:29:32+00:00September 23rd, 2018|What I've done|

Alex has worked with over fifty UK universities, most of the sector agencies including University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) and a host of practitioners in the Higher Education (HE) sector. Alex designed and developed the HEDIIP data capability framework, led the team to create the HESA in-year collection model and designed both a sector level and a HESA instance of a best practice data governance approach; and is currently working with universities to develop and implement their Data Governance frameworks, How long have you been working in [...]

I think therefore I am….

By |2018-10-05T16:48:16+00:00August 30th, 2018|What I've done|

Sourced from the ever wonderful memegenerator.com … probably extremely frustrated. And, frankly on some kind of list, double underlined for wanton neologism and crimes against innocent nouns. There's a nebulous link between that frustration, and the argument I'll be advancing about Excel. Specifically, its widespread use as a records management system is symptomatic not causal. Context is everything here; Excel is clearly brilliant at what it's designed to do. From 20 cells to budget a weekly shop to complex multi-page epics forecasting global sales. Unfortunately, it's even more successful at what it wasn't designed for - a repository for [...]

Does Data Governance have an image problem?

By |2018-10-05T20:50:06+00:00July 15th, 2018|What I've done|

We need to talk about Colin. Data Governance is a damaged brand, apparently. The first word is mostly thought of as someone else’s problem while the second acts as an axiomatic proxy for tedious bureaucratic processes. If perception is indeed truth, the obvious solution is a vigorous re-brand to catch the zeitgeist of whatever is exercising those holding budgets and organisation priorities. This is exactly the same conversation we had – and are still having – around the value of Enterprise Architecture. Both suffer from definitional drift and a patchy history of visible delivery. The temptation [...]

Fractional Data Governance

By |2018-11-01T11:46:53+00:00June 5th, 2018|What I've done|

I’ve been asked whether there’s a similar data governance service to those offered in finance and IT.  The concept of a fractional IT or Finance director is well established, but I don’t know of anything formal within the Data Governance space.  I  would consider a number of my professional colleagues and myself to already offer this service, but we’ve never called it that.  So it seemed sensible to try and rough out what that might be and how it might operate. I’m very interested to get feedback and questions on whether this makes sense and/or there would be a demand for [...]

Data Governance – why bother?

By |2018-10-05T20:49:45+00:00September 26th, 2017|What I've done|

Why should data be treated as an asset? Data is often promoted as an institutional asset. Such statements do not pass even cursory examination when comparing the rigour, accountability and governance of other assets such as finance, staff and estates. These assets are well understood by most in the institution and accountable to a responsible officer. Each has defined and persistent resources to maintain them, professional qualifications to underpin them and roles/responsibilities to ensure they are deployed in support of the organisational objectives – both operationally and strategically. The data ‘asset’ clearly has few of these attributes. Data Governance is [...]

Corporate Strategy is neither of those things

By |2018-10-05T20:47:51+00:00September 29th, 2015|What I've done|

There are many books, articles and scholastic treatises on the art of strategy underpinned by just as many people selling all sorts of ‘solutions’ from the pragmatic to snake oil. Each with its own methods, templates and questionable processes promising the perfect outcome. So why I am writing another one? Well I’m not, rather quoting Porter from 1996 specifically around what should be left out rather than how much to stuff in. Before I do, first let me tell you why. I’ve been working with HEDIIP and the Higher Education sector on assessing and increasing their data capability. We use corporate objectives to ‘hang’ the benefits of improving [...]

Data puts the “D” into Digital

By |2018-10-05T20:49:05+00:00June 23rd, 2015|What I've done|

  Digital transformations are quite the thing. Many organisations seem to have a self-styled Chief Digital Officer trumpeting the reinvigoration of their products and services with a capital D.  While it would be churlish to deny the benefits of making such products and services simpler to access, easier to use and more interesting to consume, I do have a couple of issues with the concept of digital transformation. Firstly it’s not a project or a plan. It’s underpinned by a step change in people and culture. Yet so much of it is envisaged from the standpoint of technology driven UX, and that’s [...]

Data is the new oil. Except it isn’t.

By |2018-10-05T21:08:42+00:00June 8th, 2015|What I've done|

Hang on that must be true because IBM said so back in 2013. That article is worth a read – not because the basic premise stands up, but because it correctly identifies three of the most important data management components that are foundational and integral to any organisation recognising that data is an asset. We’ll come back to that because those four small words have suffered a huge amount of misunderstanding, misdirection and misuse. First though let’s return to the less trumpeted parts of data management. Down in the operational trenches, data stewards and other practitioners are in a war to maintain and – [...]

Is EA equal to Effective Advocacy?

By |2018-10-05T20:48:51+00:00October 8th, 2014|What I've done|

Well, yes of course. And indeed no, not really.  Like much in Enterprise Architecture, we’d start by agreeing the initials match before embarking on a rumbustious dialogue on exactly by what we mean by the word ‘Advocacy’. A fine debate it would be as well, especially when tangentially gathering ideas around the much debated EA reporting line. I’m leaving that alone for now, other than to offer the perspective that the functional hierarchy of EA is far less important than the individual leading it. Of course the visibility and value of the EA team is strongly linked to where it is [...]

Making mistakes

By |2018-10-05T20:49:23+00:00September 30th, 2014|What I've done|

There’s almost an entire industry devoted to the power of the mistake, and why you should make them. From clichéd motivational images, to reworking failures now presented as successful new outcomes. Whether it’s a poster coupling mistakes with bravery or Keizen approaches to process improvement, they’re all saying the same thing: ‘it’s okay to screw up’ And we all know, deep down, this is absolute nonsense. Pity the poor school-kid sticking their hand up enthusiastically before giving the wrong answer. Peer abuse follows. We’re conditioned from a very young age to cover up our mistakes, blame others, misdirect and just plain lie. Honestly, [...]