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Data Stewardship - Conquering the Bad Data Mountain

Written by  Jack Kelly
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Your new information system is in, the staff has been trained and are confident in the process.  The painstaking data cleansing and migration effort is barely a faint memory.  Everyone breathes a huge sigh of relief and is eager to charge forward and not look back.  Now fast forward just a few weeks or months... and you are asking why your data quality challenge already seems like such a huge mountain to climb.

bad data mountain

It may start with one of the following pain points...

  • Why are my dashboards and reports noisy already?
  • Which of these views or dashboards are the most meaningful, anyhow?
  • Wait, is this any better than what I had before?
  • How does this information compare to my historical graphs and charts?
  • I thought my new system was going to provide me better information!
  • Did we make a bad system choice?

If this feels familiar, read on before genuine panic sets in.  This may not be a system problem at all.  It may, however, be the result of lack of discipline and business purpose relative to your data management processes.

Many organizations put new systems or different processes in place in an effort to better manage organizational relationships, processes and information.  The problem is that while we have been adequately trained to be good stewards of the time and financial resources at our disposal, we often forget that data needs the same care and focus.  The unavoidable buzz around “Big Data”, “BI” and analytics-based decision making create an illusion of simplicity.  The fact that today’s systems and database environments can easily and inexpensively store vast amounts of data creates a desire for more information.  This desire needs to be carefully and intentionally managed from end to end.  Make sure you have a data stewardship plan as part of your ongoing system and process management discipline.

In our experience, there are four key areas of focus that when managed intentionally lead to a solid data stewardship environment.  We have created a “Data Stewardship Checklist” that can provide structure to assist in creating and maintaining the missing link. Click here to get the checklist.

As part of our ongoing Data Stewardship blog series, we’ll dive into the major areas of data management that you should focus on. Here’s a preview of what’s to come on our blog:

Ownership and Design

This is the core component of data stewardship. This involves assigning and communicating data ownership and accountability.

Data Prioritization

It is critical to define and communicate the relative business value of data and establish processes accordingly.

Data Quality

Is perfection always the goal for every data element you collect?  While one could argue that you are always better off having higher quality data, you need to measure the cost of perfection.

Actively Engage and Measure

Once you have a handle on all the other topics, you need to make data stewardship part of the fabric of your organization through active engagement and appropriate metrics.

Want to see more detail on how to get started? Download the Data Stewardship Checklist, and sign up to get email updates from the Data Stewardship blog series where you’ll receive more information about organizing and maintaining your data assets. We’ll send you subsequent emails for each of the data stewardship areas outlined above.


Read 611 times Last modified on Thursday, 08 September 2016 11:45