As an enterprise data architect, I am often asked to speak to business and technology leaders on the state of data today. A talk I gave last week started with the following posit:
“The business data within an organisation is the vocabulary that is available to tell its story” explained D8ta Futures LTD’s Managing Director, who opened the discussion at our recent CxO Transformation round table on how an organisation’s data can change their business narrative. Turning business data into information is achieved from the bottom-up of standards, process alignment and ongoing data management to enable delivery of any business requirements.
A business transformation project is not simply putting enterprise data into a funnel and hoping to receive the answer. We must determine where we want to be through defined terms and measurements. Is the business objective to be the first to market, the best in market or the most economical? Your data is continually speaking to you and creating a rich and reliable vocabulary of aligned processes, standards and procedures, your business has the ability say so much more and in an understandable format.
Understanding where your business sits on the Data Maturity Model helps establishes where the journey begins. Is there structure and measure, are the current processes optimized and understood in context? Through analyzing the systems in place, cleaning up and harmonizing data with a single source of master data truth, an organisation can govern, manage and maintain data to reach a seamless and contextual approach
A standard engagement should begin with the strategic objective, which must be driven from the highest level. Data governance must start at the top and filter down to ensure the successful implementation of any transformation project because substantial change across any business comes with challenges. Understanding the enterprise in terms of balancing resource demands will enable planning to succeed, taking into account the cultural dynamics of the business. Current process and tools available must be assessed, along with the people driving the data processes across the business.
The stages of the engagement process, from scoping, to initiation and planning right through to execution should seamlessly overlap to ensure smooth transition of any transformation project through each of these phases. Small, defined and measurable packages of work are the key to gaining confidence and permission to proceed by top management. Planned engagements of shorter duration achieve the biggest impact. Through making individuals accountable we can ensure the implementation is sustainable and if the data process begins to falter, it can be tracked back to where in the process this has occurred and how to correct it.
The biggest risk to a company is in thinking that data will manage itself within each process. The reality is that many businesses still have a lot of work to do on their own data story and how to begin influencing the plot of what they want to see unfold.