Getting a Handle on Your Ocean Boiling Data Management Strategy

OceanKeep in mind that the theme of this site is all about promoting common sense approaches to solving business problems without all the extra positioning and couching that we typically see in the workplace. So today let’s take on everybody’s jump on the bandwagon approach to data governance.

Again, another example of a good idea gone bad. Almost every idea in the business world is delivered from the context that organizations have fluidity in identifying, onboarding and leveraging unlimited assets in getting to the advocated goal of being best in class. That simply is not the case.

Understanding the data you have is the ultimate precursor to knowing what data you need. Organizations typically gloss over this step and start with data elements and attribute exercises with little to no focus on how the data relates to the business process and moreover how that data is captured and managed at the point of entry. How in the heck can you have a data strategy if you don’t tackle the rules of capture?

It can’t be an afterthought, in fact it should be the only thought as you begin to engage in this space. Don’t let statisticians completely overrun your thought process with average of large numbers theoretical constructs remember, you are trying to run a business. The value proposition should not start out with 80/20 rules and more right than wrong targets as a goal.  I want all my data to be correct. So some jumping off points that might help you get to a better place include the following:

  1. Stop thinking that you are saving money by eliminating system edits when designing applications put them in and force data quality upfront or spend a hell of a lot more money on extraction, rationalization and normalization of data down the road.
  2. Show the value proposition of this to the business push back on their focus on speed of transaction and show the cost impact when speed is sacrificed for quality.  You cannot manage data with competing operational models and metrics targets.  Have a backbone and hold the right discussion with the business.
  3. Know your industry and focus data exercises on high impact areas of the business.  I like leaders who talk about not boiling the ocean and then they go out dry up the dead sea with way too much scope making promises that can’t be kept.  Do not let the end state of fancy dashboards lull you into a false sense that your problems will be solved 1 to 3 years out.  It won’t happen.
  4. What you can do is prioritize the opportunities.  Look for low effort high impact opportunities that allow you to quickly demonstrate value.  As you move along that path, conversations about disparate data sources and the propagation of a plethora of user developed applications (say that three times:) will help level set around the enormity of the challenge.

If you go down the typical path of just give me all the data and decide to rationalize it systematically, good luck with that because you will find that you just took on world peace and all the oceans are boiling and the land is on fire and there will never be enough business rules that will save the day.

Categories: Motivational