Who’s looking after your organisation’s information and data? 

The importance of information and data stewardship.

At a high level within an organisation, problems are presented as a business requirement – a question. But more often than not, in drilling down and analysing the requirement more questions are revealed, which ultimately land on data and information.

So who controls these valuable assets, ensuring their accuracy, quality and how to use them?

Data and information stewards take centre stage.  

Information and data stewardship are the accelerators for evolving information and data quality, ultimately allowing value-adding insights for an organisation.

Determining data and information quality cannot be underestimated.

Without trusting your data and information, or without knowing what you’re working with, evidence-based decisions lack one key component: evidence.

Given that most organisations have many data applications in operation at any one time, the data landscape can become quite complex. Stewardship allows organisations to truly understand their information and data, from their anomalies to their level of quality. When you understand your data to the most granular level, nothing will surprise you – and we’ve seen that failure to do so is often the cause of bungled migration and integration projects.

Council amalgamations: a cautionary tale

Amalgamated councils in Queensland have already experienced these challenges, and the warning rings true for those councils south of the border preparing to amalgamate in New South Wales.

Data anomalies often rear their heads further down the track after the data or integration has already been defined.

The organisation is then faced with a significant financial decision resulting in costly re-work, remediation, or both. So how do we mitigate these costly risks?

As the quote goes: “Change won’t come from the top, change will come from a mobilised grassroots.” Moving our focus from enterprise-wide to ‘grassroots’ analysis means applying a magnifying glass to the most basic activities that the organisation does.

So how do organisations – particularly councils on the cusp of amalgamating – avoid repeating these mistakes?

Now is the time to plan and ask questions like:

  • What is the quality of the data and the information we hold?
  • Where is the data coming from, and where should the data come from?
  • What mappings and transformations are involved and how will this be done?
  • What are the conceptual and logical limitations?
  • Can we use our data to draw insights, or are we wasting too much time cleaning poor-quality data?
  • How can we start to improve our use of data and information stewards in the organisation?

Questions like these help manage the lifecycle of information and its underlying supportive data, realising the value of information and data stewardship.

Ultimately all organisations want to use their information and data in a way that supports their decisions. By answering these questions you can determine how closely your data and information objectives can support the overarching business goals for a more efficient return on investment.