What I’ve done

The perils of “Swivel Chair Integration”

By |2020-06-18T13:58:25+01:00June 18th, 2020|What I've done|

Any data professional should be a clear advocate of implementing good data management and governance. Like many apparently self-evident statements, this is not quite as simple as it seems. Consider data quality. The go-to best practice approach is 'Clean at the point of capture'. Which is absolutely best practice if you have first understood why you need to capture that data, whether you have the right source or have already captured it elsewhere, what the full range of use cases are and how quality tolerances will be calculated and measured. This is still less than half the job done though. And that's [...]

Data Governance is not Data Science

By |2020-05-19T11:05:23+01:00May 19th, 2020|What I've done|

Data Governance is not Data Science. Which is a shame because it is the latter that excites the senior leadership of most organisations I work with. This is understandable as these individuals are interested in high quality information which informs the decisions and actions they are making on a daily basis. Much of this information is purportedly an output of Data Science. What is less understandable is how the good management and governance of data is somehow divorced from the use of it. This is not a new problem; in the last ten years ‘Data Science’ could be replaced by ‘Analytics’, [...]

Working in the ‘New Normal’

By |2020-03-31T12:55:25+01:00March 31st, 2020|What I've done|

Testing out the whiteboard. Optional Labrador available for all remote workshops! Let’s start by saying there are far more important things going on in the world right now. We’re in uncharted territory with the concept of being on a ‘war footing’ not seeming too far-fetched. The efforts being made by our healthcare, retail, logistics and so many other sectors renders what we do significantly less important. Although how data is being used in this crisis is fascinating. We’ll be back to that in a later post. Our approach has been to control only what we can control and not [...]

The DQ issue log – a visualisation approach

By |2020-02-19T11:06:54+00:00February 19th, 2020|What I've done|

The Data Quality Issue Log (DQIL) is a central tenet of any sustainable data governance framework. It is the central repository for the entire organisations data issues, themed by urgency, priority and business alignment. It drives activity for the Data Stewards and acts as a point of accountability for the Data Owners. So why does nobody to care about it then? Mostly because it’s hard to link 500+ issues to something that feels tangible and important. The problem with a DQIL is it is a repository not a source of management information. It is a passive receiver of issues. We want to [...]

Data Owners: first item on their agenda

By |2020-03-31T18:52:59+01:00November 25th, 2019|What I've done|

  Once we've identified, allocated and trained our Data Owners then we're done, right? Wrong! This is exactly the time we need to be mentoring that group as their role is not entirely intuitive. Why is that? Well Data Owners should be members of your organisations senior leadership team with functional accountability for a domain.  That's a great start, but their data governance role extends beyond that and across the organisation. Inhabiting the owner role may deliver a dis-benefit to their own functional area. That's a whole other post, but today I'm focussing on their other primary responsibility: empowering their stewards. The question [...]

What skills do I need for my Data Governance team?

By |2019-11-15T08:24:05+00:00November 15th, 2019|What I've done|

. A question I’m often asked is ‘what skills do we need to be successful in our Data Governance (DG) Team?’ It’s a good question but it may not be the right one.  The more pertinent question is ‘what skills does my organisation need to move to a data culture?’. Let’s try and answer both of those. Firstly, by dispelling two myths. The first is that deep technical data skills are mandatory for the DG team. The second is that some staff get a pass because ‘ The Data Governance team is a composite of many skills. You won’t find them [...]

Does every member of staff really need data skills?

By |2019-11-12T11:45:11+00:00November 12th, 2019|What I've done|

This is the first half of my third article inspired by the HESPA data governance conference back in September 2019. Often the question ‘what skills do I need for this role’ completely misses any consideration of the data skills to be successful in that role. This is both managing data you us, and the skills to interpret data outputs in a consistent and coherent manner. There’s a view that these skills should be project based. I don’t agree. They should instead form part of the ‘skills package’ every employee understands and values.  Without some clear guidance embedded in the job role, that [...]

How can I value my data asset?

By |2019-10-25T09:45:48+01:00October 25th, 2019|What I've done|

  What do we mean by value? Assets have value. So logically we should be able to agree the value of that asset. Respected metrics to do are understood for finance, people and buildings. These metrics provide some of the framework to manage assets both in terms of their cost to an organisation, and the way that value is demonstrated – be that quantitively and quantitatively. The data asset fails to ascribe to any of those criteria! There's no industry standard or accredited approaches to assessing that value, nor a universal benchmark to cost it. This does raise the question of [...]

HESPA Data Governance Conference – short write up

By |2019-10-23T16:33:50+01:00October 23rd, 2019|What I've done|

After the success of this conference, HESPA asked if I could summarise the key points and issues raised.   Posting this reminds me I promised two further articles on ‘Valuing the data asset’ and ‘Skills needed for successful Data Governance’. Coming soon, watch this space! HESPA Data Governance Conference review It's hard to know how colleagues will respond after being shown a picture of a car driving into a lake! For context this was a metaphor for 'consequences of bad data' when considering that data 'as the GPS for your strategy'. The theme for the day was the practical application of [...]

The why, how and what of Data Governance

By |2019-10-09T10:06:16+01:00October 9th, 2019|What I've done|

After my last post on ‘How to make the Data Governance business case’, I’ve had requests to share the full slide deck from the event this post originated from. These cover - briefly - the whole data journey plotted out in the schematic above. You can download them below. This was from my session at the excellent HESPA (Higher Education Strategic Planners Association) Data Governance 1 day conference on September 28th, 2019. The next post will be on ‘how to value the data asset’. If you have questions or comments, please do get in touch.