What I’ve done

Are Data Maturity assessments worth the effort?

By |2019-02-13T09:42:45+00:00February 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+00:00January 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+00:00January 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+00:00December 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+00:00November 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+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 [...]