What I’ve done

How do I assess change in terms of my data asset?

By |2019-08-27T17:22:15+01:00August 27th, 2019|What I've done|

How many times have you been asked 'We have a new system being implemented next month, can you sort out the data?'. Okay this might be a bit extreme, but the proposition holds. Data is rarely considered in the same way as the other asset classes - finance, staff and estates. This needs to change. Data is the fluid over which processes flow. If the impact is ignored or quality is assumed, this fluid can quickly turn into a grit. However, in many organisations, a lack of change governance is incompatible with a rigorous impact analysis approach. Leaving a combination pragmatism [...]

Data delays shouldn’t mean data disorganisation

By |2019-07-11T15:02:06+01:00July 11th, 2019|What I've done|

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. This is not by any means due to a lack of content, it’s more a lack of time. Or - to be more accurate - time management! I was however moved to write a short article on why Universities should persevere with their initiatives to improve the quality of the data asset, in spite of the news this week that Data Futures has been put back at least another year. WONKHE were kind enough to publish it on their website Hopefully this will kick start my approach to dealing with the [...]

SROC – this is my tribe

By |2019-04-27T12:09:56+01:00April 27th, 2019|What I've done|

Higher Education fosters a culture of collaboration which is unique across all industry sectors. Each and every time I hear a delegate sharing a 'warts and all’ story with fifty other institutions in the room, I'm reminded of an diametrically opposite experience some twenty years ago. Two mobile phone companies were looking to merge. Forty people split across two conference rooms. Labelled 'red' and 'blue' teams. Self conscious engineers from both firms carefully mingled while sporting the appropriate badge. A pastiche of the cold war where the spies of both sides felt a kindred spirit ripped apart by dogma and ideology. [...]

Are Data Maturity assessments worth the effort?

By |2019-02-13T09:42:45+01:00February 12th, 2019|What I've done|

The answer should be a firm yes, but first let me explain why it is often a definite no. Assessment scores are amongst the dirtiest data you can collect, with most methodologies being entirely qualitative Completing the assessment may give you a grade or a level, but other than printing it out and sticking it on the wall, what do you do with it? The HEDIIP programme originally envisaged publishing a data maturity assessment across the HE sector. My view was without a framework for that assessment to operate in, the cost of collection was not commensurate to the value we [...]

Why visualising Data Quality issues can overcome institutional inertia.

By |2019-01-28T17:05:40+01:00January 28th, 2019|What I've done|

A recurring problem with resolving cross domain data quality issues is the asymmetry of benefits. Essentially the data producer (responsible for entering or uploading data at the point of collection) has little visibility of how the quality of that data will affect the data consumer (the person or persons who use it). The utility of data is often scuppered at this collection point, as the producer - understandably - will apply only the business and quality rules relating to their own use cases. This is not simple to fix. I used to believe merely showing people the implications of these actions [...]

Data Futures Mapping Tool v2.1

By |2019-01-23T10:15:37+01:00January 7th, 2019|What I've done|

In my last blog post, I introduced a mapping tool linking the HESA Data Futures schema (2.01) to the UCISA HE capability model. This generated an enormous amount of feedback and interest. This interest made me appreciate - again - how powerful the capability model is if tuned to a real world scenario, and that I'd created a bit of a monster in terms of the tool itself. Having said I wasn't going to enhance it, the number of  requested changes, and a bit of spare time over the break has brought forth version 2.1.  The new functionality includes: A query function [...]

Warm Fusion: Mapping the HESA Data Futures Schema…

By |2018-12-13T18:46:41+01:00December 12th, 2018|What I've done|

Some combinations just work; Bacon and Eggs,  Fred and Ginger,  Tom and Jerry,  Sheringham and Shearer and - of course - Angus and Malcolm Young of AC/DC. Okay the last one might not be for everyone, but segues into the idea of this article. For universities developing solutions for in-year reporting to the Office for Students, there is a raft of material available. Most of which is provided by HESA as part of the 'Data Futures' Programme*. The most important of which is the Data Dictionary (or schema)which defines all the entities and attributes mandated for each reference point.  I've seen [...]

What is a business glossary and why do I need one?

By |2018-11-24T07:46:52+01:00November 23rd, 2018|What I've done|

What is it? A business glossary is a cornerstone of any successful data governance framework. It underpins much of the effort to assess, track and improve the data asset. A properly formed glossary is the foundation for driving up the utility of data. It does this by generating trust in that data because we know what it means, and the quality at which it is held. It is therefore an institution wide, agreed business view of the most important data and where it is used. As such, it's a key tool for data stewards and owners to move data out of [...]

Data Governance Interview by Nicola Askham

By |2018-10-06T10:29:32+01:00September 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+01:00August 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 [...]